Electric vehicle drivers in North Herts face having to pay for their parking sessions.

According to a district council report, some EV drivers take advantage of free parking sessions – charging their car with the cable connected for a reduced period but staying in their space for up to three hours free of charge.

But at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 19, North Herts Council leaders agreed EV drivers should pay for their stays across car parks in Letchworth, Baldock, Hitchin, Knebworth and Royston.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Weston and Sandon Steve Jarvis is the authority’s environment portfolio holder.

He said there is a “merit” in making electric vehicles “more attractive” to motorists in North Hertfordshire with free stays.

He said: “I understand the issue around EV charging. One hopes that before too much longer, the position will be there are so many EVs that we won’t need to provide an incentive in this way.

“I don’t think we’re at that point yet.

“Did we consider the possibility of allowing some short free period for EVs on the basis they could park for free while they are charging?”

Liberal Democrat councillor for Royston Heath Ruth Brown, the council’s deputy leader and executive member for transport, said: “We are installing a lot more EV charging points in our car parks.

“Currently, there is no charge for parking in an EV bay.

“We are finding that sometimes people are staying longer than they actually need to charge their car.

“To create a turnover and maximise the use of our EV charging points … we don’t really want people to stay for three hours unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

North Herts Council’s cabinet agreed to the principle of charging a price for EV bay stays.

No final plans have been agreed.

Garden Square Multi Storey (Level 5) in Letchworth, The Twitchell in Baldock, Lairage Multi Storey (Level 1) and Woodside in Hitchin, and the Civic Centre in Royston each have two electric vehicle parking bays.

Electricity costs £0.30 per kilowatt hour (kWh) but parking sessions are free for up to three hours.