Car parking enforcements and charges will resume for both on-street and off-street car parking over the coming weeks, it has been announced.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is reintroducing off-street car parking enforcement and charges in the 13 Council-operated pay and display car parks from Wednesday, July 1 2020.

The decision to reintroduce off-street car parking enforcement and charges at Council operated pay and display car parks was taken following the Minister for Infrastructure’s decision to resume on-street car parking enforcement and car parking charges from June 29, 2020.

In recognising the need to give people time to prepare and to make them aware of the change, the Council is implementing a seven-day warning period as part of the reintroduction of off-street parking enforcement and charges.

Warning notices will be issued by traffic attendants from Wednesday, July 1 for a period of seven days, however from Wednesday, July 8, Penalty Charge Notices will be issued for breach of off-street parking regulations.

Speaking about the change, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Chris Smyth, said: “The easing of some restrictions by the Northern Ireland Executive has enabled more people to return to work and permitted more retailers to reopen. As a consequence, we are seeing more traffic on the roads and greater numbers of motorists using town centre car parks.

It is critical that we support our local businesses at this time to help our local economy recover and it is important that car parking spaces are available to support that recovery.”

Continuing, Councillor Smyth added: “I would encourage drivers to make use of the cashless parking app as an additional precaution to reduce the need to handle money when using the pay and display machines. If you are unable to use the app, I would urge drivers to practise good hand hygiene as advised by the Department of Health and carry hand sanitiser in their vehicles.”

The Council had previously suspended off-street car parking charges from 6pm on Thursday, March 26 due to the lockdown restrictions put in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was announced last week by Department for Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon that parking enforcement teams for on-street car parking would be back on the streets from Monday, June 22. In the first instance, for seven days, from June 22, enforcement officials are to issue warnings and from June 29 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) on street parking charges and charging at Park and Ride Sites will commence.

Minister Mallon said: “With more restrictions being relaxed, more people returning to work and retailers now reopening, more and more people are on our roads and our streets.

“It is important for economic recovery that we all support local businesses at this time and as Minister for Infrastructure I must ensure that car parking spaces are available for anyone travelling to our town and city centres and that cars are parked safely. I know that these decisions may not be popular for some, but I have carefully considered the needs of all those using our roads before making my decision. I recognise the need to give people time to prepare and to make them aware of this change which is why I have built in a seven day warning period ahead of the reintroduction of parking charges.”

She continued: “From June 29, parking and bus lane enforcement will also recommence. Enforcement assists with safe parking management in our town and city centres and I would ask the public to show respect to these workers at all times. From June 22, Advisory Notices for all parking and moving traffic offences will be issued for one week after which Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for all parking and bus lane offences will issue.”

“I thank the public for their support during this difficult time and ask that we continue to work together and responsibly to get through the challenges of Covid-19 and as we look towards recovery,” Minister Mallon concluded.