Blue badge abuse clampdown ahead of legislation change
Additional powers to confiscate badges and tackle misuse.
Drivers and passengers who abuse the blue badge scheme could have their badges confiscated through new legislation coming into force at the end of March.
The blue badge scheme provides an essential service for disabled people by allowing access to parking bays which are normally closer to work, shops and other community services. This parking access often makes the difference as to whether people with mobility problems can live their lives as fully as they can.
The Scottish Government hopes that by providing these additional powers to confiscate badges and cancel lost or stolen badges, people will think twice before misusing them.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said:
“Blue badge misuse is socially unacceptable as it prevents the 228,000 legitimate badge holders across Scotland from accessing the on-street parking concessions to which they are entitled.
"Granting extra powers for local authorities to tackle blue badge misuse and confiscate badges that are not valid or are being used illegally by a third party for their own benefit will allow disabled badge holders to access services in the community and lead independent lives.”
Research conducted by Transport Scotland in 2012 showed that 76% of BB holders would go out less often if they were without their badge. Many also felt they wouldn’t be able to go out at all.
Dennis Robertson, MSP who was responsible for taking the legislation forward, said:
“We need this legislation because people think that third party misuse of a blue badge is okay; although it is not. We as a society should not tolerate that.
“When someone misuses a blue badge they do not just take a parking space they deny a parking space to someone with a disability. When that person is denied a parking space they have to return home and might not be able to do what they went into town for.
“People need to understand that by using someone else’s blue badge they are not just taking a parking space they are taking a parking space from a disabled person who is entitled to it.”
Abuse of the scheme reduces the number of on street disabled parking bays and on-street parking spaces available for use by genuine blue badges holders. Local authorities are keen to stamp out the misuse with Parking Enforcement Officers constantly dealing with possible cases of misuse.
Michael Brady, Enforcement Manager City Parking (Glasgow), said:
"All of our officers have been trained in blue badge inspection protocol. This not only ensures that those who use their blue badge properly are treated with respect, but also ensures that if we suspect misuse, action will be taken.
“Checking badges is part of the everyday duties of our attendants and every few weeks we will clampdown on areas where we suspect there is a high level of blue badge misuse taking place. Occasionally it comes down to drivers not realising the rules, however there are many who abuse the scheme and we hear the same excuses daily.
“Blue badges should only be used by those people who have been awarded a badge and have a right to the parking concessions. The power to confiscate will be a crucial tool to tackle abuse and protect the parking rights of legitimate badge holders.”
Glasgow’s most common excuses given by those misusing the blue badge are:
- I have just dropped badge holder off for shopping, doctors, dentist; when that is not the case and enquiries reveal that the badge holder is at home.
- I am waiting on the badge holder coming from, the doctors, dentists
- I am doing the badge holder’s shopping
- I am collecting something for the badge holder / picking up their medication
- I thought I could use the badge as I will be collecting the badge holder later
For more information on blue badges and the rules and regulations around their use, please visitwww.bluebadgescotland.org/
Note to Editors
- The Act does not target badge holders who use their badge lawfully within the rules of the scheme.
- The strengthened powers in the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Act 2014 will allow local authorities to cancel badges which have been reported lost or stolen and confiscate badges that are being misused.
- Misuse of a blue badge is already a criminal offence with a fine of up to £1000.
- Using a cancelled badge will also be an offence with a fine of up top £1000.
- The Act will protect the rights of badge holders. Valid badges which are confiscated from third parties will be returned to the badge holder by the local authority as soon as practicable.
- Confiscation will educate the public that it is not acceptable to misuse the blue badge and it will free up parking spaces for badge holders.
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