ROYAL Bolton Hospital is increasing car parking charges and bringing in tougher parking enforcement measures.

Motorists will be clocked as they enter the grounds of the hospital as ANPR ­— automated number plate recognition ­— comes into force at Royal Bolton Hospital car parks from March 31.

Private firm ParkingEye has been drafted in to provide the cameras which will capture motorists as they visit the hospital.

Charges will increase from £3 to £5 for up to eight hours and £3 to £8 for up to 24 hours.

Fines of £70 will be issued to those found to be in breach of parking rules.

Bosses say the move will enable a “fairer payment system”.

Car parking at the hospital is overseen by iFM Bolton on behalf of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

Phil Webster, Managing Director of iFM Bolton, said: “Charges at Bolton have not changed for some time and the changes that we have made will bring the hospital more in line with other Trusts.

“Money from the car parking charges goes back into Trust services.

“There has been no charge to the Trust for the installation of the ANPR system and the much needed new payment kiosks.

“ Above all, the new system will ensure that the car parks are used responsibly and is much fairer – the system will identify people who park without paying the correct fee and who take up spaces that could be used by others.”

Motorists will pay as they leave, rather than on arrival, cards will be accepted by new machines.

Concessions will be retained, for example for blue badge holders, patients at the oncology unit, renal unit or have a baby on the Neonatal Unit. and monthly passes.

Bosses say the move will mean more payment machines, including some indoors, leading to fewer queues and deter people from parking anywhere other than in car parks — which is said to often cause an obstruction.

And the measures, say the hosptial, will penalise people who park without paying the correct fee.

Those found to be breach of the rules will land themselves with a fine of £70 reduced to £42 if paid within a specified time limit.

The charge for a monthly pass remains at £25.

The first 30 minutes on site will be free. And there will be a free drop-off point, which has been reduced to 10 minutes.

The hospital said that ANPR has already been installed at the town’s Diabetes Centre and is in place at a number of NHS and other locations throughout the country.

Currently, NHS trusts are responsible for making their own car parking arrangements, including setting any charges.

From next month, all hospital trusts in England will be expected to provide free car parking to groups that may be frequent hospital visitors, or those disproportionately impacted by daily or hourly charges for parking, including frequent outpatients who have to attend regular appointments to manage long-term conditions

Free parking will also be offered at specific times of day to certain groups, including parents of sick children staying in hospital and overnight staff working night shifts.