Improvements to parking services now a ‘virtual’ reality

Improvements to parking services at Somerset County Council will see the introduction of ‘virtual’ permits and a new online payment system.

Residents will now be able to apply and pay for resident permits for their own vehicles and their visitors, including annual and daily scratch cards, in one online transaction. Currently applications must be made individually and by post for daily scratch cards.

Annual resident parking permits and care worker parking permits will also become ‘virtual’ with no paperwork to lose and no need to make sure a permit is on display (similar to the car tax system). Once registered, reminders will be emailed to holders before a virtual permit expires.

Annual visitor permits and daily visitor scratch-cards will remain as physical permits for the time being.

The changes also mean the administration of parking penalties and permits will now be provided by Somerset County Council staff based in Taunton.

Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “In modernising our parking services, we’ve been able to reduce costs while also offering a number of small improvements for customers – including hassle-free ‘virtual’ permits and a simpler payment system.

“We’re also pleased to bring the processing of parking penalties and permits in-house to Taunton.”

For more information about the changes, please visit

  • Since 2012 parking penalties and permits in Somerset have been managed by NSL on behalf of Somerset County Council (SCC) and the District Councils.
  • That five-year contract was reviewed in 2016 and it was found that bringing the penalty processing in-house within SCC would bring cost and quality benefits to the residents of Somerset. SCC has recruited four new posts to carry out the processing and has commissioned use of a parking IT system from Chipside Ltd, based in Wiltshire and used by other local authorities including Dorset and Gloucestershire.
  • Enquiries and penalty payments will now all be dealt with by SCC staff based in Taunton.
  • NSL will continue to provide Civil Enforcement Officers for car parks in Mendip, Taunton Deane, Sedgemoor and West Somerset and for on-street parking throughout the county.