22% of councils have not converted all parking meters for new £1 coins
More than one in five UK councils have still not converted all their parking ticket machines to accept the new £1 coin, an investigation has found.
Drivers embarking on trips to popular tourist destinations from Devon to the Scottish Highlands risk being hit with hefty fines because of the out-of-date infrastructure, according to the AA.
The new 12-sided pound coin entered circulation in March, boasting new high-tech security features to thwart counterfeiters.
Responses to a Freedom of Information request issued by the AA revealed that 74 out of 340 councils (22%) with responsibility for car parks with coin-operated machines have not updated them all to allow payment by the new coins.
The motoring organisation's president Edmund King said the issue is "not the drivers' fault" and called for parking rules to be relaxed until the problem is resolved.
He went on: "If the machines are unfit for purpose because they can't take the legal tender for a parking charge at £1.60 or £3.60, that's the councils' problem.
"Either make the car parks free to use until the machines are converted or provide some kind of online means to pay the charge within a reasonable time - without having to waste time and often pay extra to sign up to a cashless parking system that a holidaymaker may never use again.
"One thing is for sure: if a visitor's enduring memory of a trip to a seaside, rural or city holiday destination is a parking ticket they didn't deserve, they won't be back."
Local Government Association transport spokesman Martin Tett said councils that have not yet converted their machines are "well on the way towards doing so".
He continued: "This has been done despite not receiving a penny in additional funding for making the change, at a time when funding pressures on local services continue.
"Depending on local circumstances, councils offer differing mechanisms for payment for parking, and if someone is incorrectly penalised there is a procedure in place to help resolve issues. Councils are treating their residents fairly, and always will do."