Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove has told councils they must not force drivers to use smartphones to pay for parking spaces.
In a letter sent to every local authority in England, he said he was concerned about the elderly and vulnerable being excluded if traditional pay-and-display machines using cash were scrapped.
Traditional parking meters have been ditched by some councils in favour of cashless options such as mobile phone apps.
Mr Gove said it would not be appropriate for high street parking to be 'solely available for those who have access to a mobile phone'.
He said councils should also not replace paper-based parking options such as 'scratch cards' if the only available replacement is entirely digital.
He wrote: 'Cash remains legal tender and it will continue to be used in our daily lives by people who favour its accessibility and ease.
'I am therefore concerned that local authorities should ensure that there are alternative provisions for parking payments available so that no part of society is digitally excluded.
'This is of course important for many areas in preserving the accessibility of our high streets and town centres for all the public.’