ELECTRIC cars will be able to park free in all Glasgow City Council-owned car parks and on-street parking bays.

The city will be the first in the UK to introduce such a scheme, which will start within a few months.

City Parking operates 19 sites in the city on behalf of the council, which also has about 4000 street parking bays.

The council says it will pay City Parking for the cost of providing free parking for electric vehicles.

Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "Glasgow is always striving to do better for the benefit of all its citizens.

"Through the Sustainable Glasgow partnership we aim to be one of Europe's most sustainable cities and we are working hard to ensure Glasgow becomes cleaner, greener and healthier.

"We need to be creative, we need to be innovative and we need to lead the charge on making sustainability an innate part of our city life.

"Everyone has a part to play to reach our goals and the council is again leading the way in the UK with this announcement."

Mr Matheson revealed the free parking deal as energy firm SSE opened a public exhibition on renewable energy.

It is being housed on the ground floor of SSE's building in Waterloo Place, opposite Central Station.

And it will feature the UK's first free charging and parking spaces for electric vehicles.

It is hoped the exhibition, which demonstrates Scotland's potential in renewable energy, will attract thousands of visitors and school children each year.

Visitors will be able to learn how much energy household appliances consume and get information on how to save energy.

And they can step inside a near life-size wind turbine and look up into one of the largest infinity mirrors in the UK.

Mr Matheson said: "This public exhibition will be a great educational tool for our city, especially our children."

Dr Robin Hoyle, director of science at Glasgow Science Centre, said: "Glasgow and Scotland have a rich heritage of engineering.

"We are very pleased to be part of an exhibition that gives the public the opportunity to engage with science and engineering.

"This is important to demonstrate how technology is going to contribute to our future and to inspire a future generation."

The exhibition is part of the Scottish Hydro Centre For Renewable Excellence, which was opened by motoring journalist Quentin Willson.

He said: "I am delighted to see Scotland pushing for electric cars. They really are the future and this shows Scotland will soon reap all the benefits of silent, fast, clean and cheap transport."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk