New coins may mean costly upgrades

Newly minted coins could cost councils thousands of pounds in expensive payphone and parking meter upgrades, according to industry experts.

The new 5p and 10p coins, which are due to be phased into circulation in the Spring, are made of slightly heavier metal than their predecessors. This means they are likely to be rejected from old coin-operated machines, and cause confusion among users.

Experts at the Local Government Association (LGA) have voiced concerns that people may think machines are broken if they repeatedly reject the new coins.

Chairman of the LGA, councillor Peter Box, said: "Motorists may also be inconvenienced in areas where authorities cannot afford the expensive upgrades as the parking machines will no longer be able to accept 5p and 10p coins."

The British Parking Association, the industry representative for local authorities and parking operators, has stated its support for councils that upgrade their machinery.

Copyright Press Association 2012