North Devon Council car parks will start accepting coins again from Saturday, July 4.

The council’s car parks have been limited to contactless methods of payment since charging resumed in town centres on June 15, in a bid to reduce any potential spread of coronavirus.

While coins will be accepted, the council said cash should be used as a ‘last resort’, with contactless methods of payment such as the RingGo system preferred.

Anyone touching parking machines is asked to use hand sanitiser or wipes before and after using them.

Council leader Councillor David Worden said: “With life returning back to some sort of normality and government guidelines slowly relaxing, we are able to review some of the things we put in place and return to normal ourselves.

“However, we mustn’t forget that the virus is still out there, is still highly contagious and is deadly. So to protect yourselves and others, please continue to use our cashless options if you can.”

The council is also launching a new online permit system for its car parks from Thursday.

The digital system will allow the council’s enforcement team to digitally check if cars have a valid permit without the need to see one on display, which it says will improve parking administration and enforcement processes.

It will also have the environmental benefit of reducing the need to provide paper permits.

The NDC permits will only be valid in its council-run car parks.

Cllr Worden said: “Moving to a digital permit system will improve the customer experience for residents and tourists.

“The digital process will allow people to manage the majority of permit services themselves at any time of the day, including applying for permits or changing their vehicle registration details.

“It also means people no longer need to display permits in their vehicles, which could be lost, stolen or damaged, and removes the inconvenience of waiting for a new permit to arrive in the post when applying for a permit for the first time, renewing an existing permit or registering a new vehicle.”

All permit holders will be able to use their account to register vehicles, update registration numbers and obtain parking permits online at any time of the day and start to use them immediately.

Online permits will also bring other benefits, such as renewal reminder emails, and the introduction of a new one month-long stay parking permit which allows for more flexibility.

Anyone wishing to register for an NDC permit can do so here.