THERE will be free parking in the Kingdom from Monday until the lockdown measures are lifted by the Scottish Government.

Fife Council have agreed to suspend all on and off-street charges for motorists to help businesses, support key workers and ease pressure on parking in residential areas.

Derek Crowe, senior manager for roads and transportation services, told the policy and co-ordination committee today (Thursday): "The current lockdown is to be in place until the end of January and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis after that so we're unsure at this point just how long this will extend.

"So the proposal is to suspend parking charges until the lockdown period ends."

He continued: "We do propose to keep some of our parking staff in operation, this is a lesson learned from last time.

"There are many hotspots and parking complaints we receive and we will need a nominal team.

"We will need a few days to set up arrangements, bag up all the machines and put signs up in car parks so the proposal is to bring it in from Monday January 11."

Parking fees typically bring in around £200,000 a month but it's expected the suspension of charges will lead to a loss of £60,000 in income a month due to a drop in demand during lockdown.

Councillor Dave Dempsey asked if this would be used as an excuse to avoid carrying out road repairs in the future.

Mr Crowe replied: “There is no link between parking income and our maintenance budget for potholes.”

During the national lockdown last year, the council suspended parking charges from April to August.

A report to the committee outlined the benefits: "Restrictions on the length of time someone can park are suspended.

"This allows anyone to park for as long as required.

"In town centre locations, this will support key workers when commuting by car (following advice to avoid public transport).

"It will support people living in town centres, allowing them to park near their home throughout the day.

"In residential areas, this allows care providers to park for as long as required and helps address issues for residents where most are at home and parking demand is high."

The committee was told that money lost through the suspension of parking charges can be claimed back through the Scottish Government's Loss of Income Scheme.