Care and health workers will now be able to park on double yellow lines with the launch of a new county-wide permit.

The Care and Health Worker Parking Permit has been launched in Devon, and it allows professionals visiting people at home to park on double yellow lines in certain situations.

Care and health professionals who hold the existing permit can currently park in on-street, limited waiting and residents' parking bays for no charge when delivering essential services to residents in their homes.

The new permits allow parking on double yellow lines for an hour, but only if there is no other parking available.

The scheme will be piloted for one year. The council said the changes reflected feedback that parking can be difficult in some communities and can add to the stress of a demanding job.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council's cabinet member for adult social care and health services, said: "Care and health workers are highly valued, they help some of the most vulnerable in our communities live in their homes for longer.

"This scheme will make it easier for them to do their jobs and improve access to those living at home.

"It will reduce the pressure that workers feel when looking for parking and help them to arrive at their appointments in good time, which will improve the service they can deliver."

The new permits will have a time clock which must be displayed, similar to ones for Blue Badge holders.

The scheme follows a consultation in which 89 per cent of respondents agreed it would make their jobs easier. Furthermore 80 per cent said it would help them care for their clients.

Almost 65 per cent said it would help manage stress, and most said parking near a client's home would make them feel safer if working alone.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council's cabinet member for highways, said: "I'm delighted that this new scheme has been launched. Many care and health workers have told us that they struggle to park in some areas, and it can affect their ability to deliver essential services to vulnerable people and adds to their stress.

"We wanted to do something about that and that's why I endorsed plans to look at how we can ensure that care and health workers making home visits will always have somewhere to park."