FREE parking and free energy supply for electric vehicles (EVs) is coming to an end with Fife Council introducing new fees in April.

E-car drivers will have to pay a connection fee of £1.60 per charging session and 15p per kilowatt hours for electricity to help fund the "green revolution".

Councillors agreed to the move in October after hearing that free charging was not financially sustainable and that public charging points were being misused by drivers using the spaces for all-day free parking.

The fees were set by the economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee last week.

Committee convener Altany Craik said: “There’s a growing acceptance in this era of severe budget pressures on local authorities of the need to introduce charges for the EV charging network and move towards a self-sustaining service. By investing in the network of charge points, we can ensure future growth.

“Electric car charging continues to offer substantial savings compared to the cost of an equivalent petrol or diesel car.

"We hope that the continued growth of our EV network will accelerate the use of green vehicles and further advance a green revolution.”

The new fees will mean an average cost for electric vehicle users of 4.3p per mile, compared to around 11.7p per mile for petrol/diesel vehicles.

There are 39 public charging units in car parks and transport interchanges, including the park & rides at Halbeath and Ferrytoll, and Dunfermline Queen Margaret railway station. That will rise to 68 by the end of this year.

The Scottish Government financed the current EV network, which included maintenance funding for an initial five years, but this arrangement is set to end from the start of 2023.

Councils will then have to pick up the tab and fees will likely rise that year.

In 2018-19, providing electricity and maintenance for the charging network cost the council almost £60,000.

As well as covering costs, the council want to raise awareness that the EV charging bays are only to be used for charging. Once the vehicle has been recharged, the vehicle should be moved.

Change was needed as senior transportation manager Derek Crowe admitted to councillors in October: “The current arrangement of the council paying for the electricity is not working.

"It’s a good idea but it’s not working.

“The infrastructure is not working as it was intended to work.

“We see cars sitting in charging spots all day, who are maybe only charging for short periods of time, so they can make use of free, all-day parking.”