Free on-street parking in run-up to Christmas in Belfast, Newry and Lisburn

street parking ticket On-street parking charges apply in three cities in Northern Ireland

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Shoppers in Belfast, Lisburn and Newry city centres will be able to use free on-street parking in the run-up to Christmas.

There will be no charges from 16:30 GMT Monday to Friday and all day Saturday from 5 December until Christmas Eve.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said it was the first time the scheme had been extended beyond Belfast.

The cities are the only three in Northern Ireland to charge for on-street parking.

"I hope this is a decision that will be welcomed by the three cities where drivers pay for on-street parking all year round," he said.

"No other towns in Northern Ireland have on-street paid parking and I hope this will provide these city centres with a boost for the Christmas period."

Mr Kennedy added: "Parking enforcement and charged parking is an effective method of controlling traffic in city centres and parking enforcement staff will closely monitor the scheme to ensure it is not counter-productive to traffic flow."

The scheme will cover all on-street pay and display bays in Lisburn and Newry and an area of Belfast city centre, bounded by Chichester Street and Wellington Place to the north, Upper Queen Street and Brunswick Street to the west, Victoria Street, May Street and Alfred Street to the east and Ormeau Avenue to the south.

The pay and display machines located in the streets that are included in the scheme will have notices indicating that enforcement will stop in these streets Monday to Friday at 16:30 GMT and all day Saturday.

The Department of Regional Development said drivers should be aware that the machines will still accept payment during non-enforcement times and no refunds will be given.

Earlier this year, the minister announced he would not proceed with plans to roll out on-street parking charges to 30 towns and cities across Northern Ireland.

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