Arthritis Care Hails Blue Badge Crackdown – And Calls For More
Arthritis Care welcomes new measures to tackle abuse of the Blue Badge Scheme designed to benefit disabled vehicle users – and calls for the crackdown to be extended to private car parking. Police and civil enforcement officers, traffic wardens, local authority parking attendants are now authorised to inspect blue badges as part of their duties. Failure to produce a badge when using an on-road space reserved for badge holders, or when parking on a yellow line, could result in a £1000 fine.
“Abuse of the blue badge scheme is a serious issue. These new measures will strengthen existing powers and will mean that it is far easier to identify people who are abusing the scheme and bring them to book,” said Transport Minister Gillian Merron.
Blue badges have a photograph of the user on one side, and an expiry date on the other. Prior to these new measures, officials had no legal right to check the picture to ensure the badge, which had to be left face down on the dashboard, was being used by the correct person.
Wardens will check for stolen, forged, altered, or out-of-date badges, or badges being displayed by people not entitled to them, as well as catching opportunists who use parking bays reserved for disabled drivers without possessing any badge at all.
“It’s hugely frustrating when blue badges are used fraudulently. Thanks to the government taking DPTAC’s advice and changing the law, wardens and police officers will at last have real powers to tackle this selfish behaviour when it occurs on the public street”, said Neil Betteridge, Arthritis Care’s chief executive and chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) .
“The next challenge is to ensure that private car parks, like those run by supermarkets, take equally robust measures to ensure such abuse is eliminated wherever it happens”, said Mr Betteridge.
The measures are designed to protect genuine badge-holders, and they must now be extra vigilant in their own use of the concession – not lending badges to family or friends, or failing to renew them.