Ticket machines could be removed from every car park in Wiltshire next year ... but that does not mean motorists will not have to pay.

Wiltshire Council deputy leader John Thomson said if drivers used smart phones to pay instead of putting money in a slot, it would save the authority millions of pounds.

He said: “I believe the vast majority of motorists would be happy to use this method if they thought it meant that parking charges could come down.

“This way they would not have to rush back from shopping before their ticket ran out, pay for time they have not used or pay extra because the machine does not give change.

“Of course, we realise that not everyone wants to embrace new technology in this way and so we would have to come to an arrangement with nearby shops so they could help people do this.”

The council is about to embark on its biggest parking review for four years and the non-ticket option is one of those that will be discussed.

Mr Thomson, 60, said he felt now was the right time to get rid of the machines as a Government decision to change the size and shape of £1 coins meant the council would face a huge bill for machines to be adapted.

He hopes the non-ticket payment method could be simplified so motorists only have to scan a barcode with their phones rather than tapping in a range of different numbers and letters, as is the case at the moment.

Using the automated system costs drivers 20p extra on top of the parking fee.

Mr Thomson said the review would look at all Wiltshire towns on an individual basis and was likely to do away with the banding system which, under the previous review, linked towns of a similar size.

This could benefit Chippenham, where there is little or no free parking available and the range of shops on offer is not comparable with Salisbury.

In Devizes he questioned whether extensive on-road free parking was a good idea when Station Road car park was poorly used.

The review will take place over several months with consultation via parish and town councils and area boards.

A report is likely to go to committee in January and a decision made next February.