Decision over ‘virtual’ parking permits for Norwich to be made today

'Virtual' parking permits are expected to be rolled out in Norwich this year Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

'Virtual' parking permits are expected to be rolled out in Norwich this year Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

The need to display a parking permit in your car will soon be a thing of the past in Norwich, with the city council today expected to agree to a 21st century alternative.

Currently, Norwich City Council dishes out thousands of permits each year - around 22,000 in total along with some 110,000 visitor day scratch cards and about 5,000 business permits.

However, with the council looking to cut down on the accompanying paper trail, the days of physical permits on dashboards as the only option are numbered.

At a meeting this morning, the Norwich highways agency committee - a joint committee between members of the city council and Norfolk County Council - will be asked to agree a roll out of 'virtual' permits across the city.

This would see traffic wardens equipped with hand-held devices which would be able to ascertain if a vehicle has a valid permit through its registration number.

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This would also mean motorists would be able to immediately park as soon as they have registered their permit - as opposed to waiting for them to be issued.

However, the committee report says it would be unlikely paper permits will disappear completely, with some types easier to keep track of digitally than others.

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It says: 'Some permit types are relatively straightforward to manage electronically, whether the user has access to the Internet or not.

'Other types, where the permits can be used on more than one vehicle are likely to remain available as a paper-based permit, with an online version for those who prefer.

'Unlike the residents' own permits, which are vehicle specific, the visitor scheme is much more flexible in that permits can be used on almost any vehicle.

'Virtual visitor permits would therefore require routine access to an online service.

'Consequently, a paper-based system for visitor parking is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.'

The report says the virtual permit system would cost £42,000 to set up, with an annual running cost of £41,000 per year subsequently.

However, 80pc of this would be covered by income from the permits with the remaining 20pc to be taken from existing budgets, while also reducing the cost of printing physical permits.

It is hoped the virtual permits will be introduced in the autumn.

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