Council bosses have admitted they are currently powerless to stop people parking at electric car parking bays in South Tyneside.
Earlier this week, South Tyneside Council announced that six new charging points were being provided in the borough - but drivers who abuse them won’t face a fine until the end of this month.
A council spokesman said: “From November 29, people will only be able to park in a bay reserved for the charging of electric vehicles in the borough’s car parks if they are charging an electric vehicle.
“If people park in one of these bays and do not charge an electric vehicle they will receive a Penalty Charge Notice.
“This will be at the standard rate which will be reduced to £25 if paid within 14 days.
The statement follows a complaint from a Gazette readers who says drivers of conventional vehicles are regularly parking in bays reserved for charging electric vehicles.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I was annoyed when I saw the report that more charging bays are being provided.
“What is the point in having dedicated charging bays when drivers of normal cars use them whenever they want.”
He added: “I believe the council don’t have the power to fine people who do this
“It is a regular occurrence at the shops at The Nook. There are nearly aways cars and vans in area which is supposed to be reserved for charging electric cars.”
The council spokesman added: “Electric charging bays are reserved for drivers of electric cars and should be used for charging only.
“Misuse of these bays reduces access for those needing to charge their electric vehicle and we would encourage people to park considerately and use these spaces only if they have the right to do so.
“The Council is currently reviewing the existing traffic regulation orders and related signage with a view to making this clearer to all road users.”
The six new chaging points in the borough brought the council’s existing network of more than 20 charging points - all six in residential areas, particularly where off-street parking is not available.
The council received up to £45,000 from the Department for Transport’s On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme for the work.
The new charging points are at Boldon Community Association; The Nook, Prince Edward Way; Monkton Stadium; Simonside Outdoor Centre and two at Sea Winnings Way.
Coun Mark Walsh, lead member for housing and transport, said: “These six new points will greatly expand our existing charging infrastructure around the borough, and, we hope, encourage take-up of electric vehicles.”