Supermarkets accused of "failing their disabled customers" by not enforcing Blue Badge parking spaces

Published 27 August 2019

The UK's largest supermarkets have been accused of "failing their disabled customers" after an investigation found that almost one in five disabled parking bays are misused.

Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) asked members of the public to survey their local supermarket car park over the month of June as part of its Baywatch initiative. Almost 800 people took part, recording the number of cars that used the disabled bays and how many did so with showing a Blue Badge.

The charity, which supports disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders, found that a typical supermarket provides 15 bays, but three of them are regularly used by other motorists. 

That means almost one in five bays at supermarkets are abused by somebody parking in a disabled space without displaying a Blue Badge, despite almost two thirds of disabled bays displaying clear signage relating to enforcement, as well as signs and road markings.

The Baywatch initiative included all of the UK supermarkets, but the main results focus on the four biggest grocery retailers - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. 

Disabled -parking -space

Morrisons experienced the lowest level of disabled parking abuse (10 per cent) while Tesco came out worse at 24 per cent, which means almost a quarter of its disabled bays are being misused.

On 30 August 2019, the criteria for the Blue Badge will change in England and more people with hidden disabilities will be eligible for a Blue Badge. DMUK predicts that this change will see a dramatic increase in Blue Badge holders meaning that disabled parking will be more pressured.

Heidi Turner, communications & campaigns director at Disabled Motoring UK, said: “It’s time that supermarkets start taking the issue of disabled parking abuse seriously. They are failing their disabled customers by not enforcing disabled bays.

“Our campaign has shown that enforcement works and disabled bays are less abused if the public see that they are actively enforced. The charity calls on all supermarkets to use proper enforcement practices in all of their store car parks.”

UK's top four supermarkets

Supermarket

2019 level of disabled parking bay misuse 

2017 level of disabled parking bay misuse 

Morrisons

10%

11%

Sainsbury’s

15%

8%

ASDA

22%

17%

Tesco

24%

23%

 

Comments

Captain-Cretin    on 27 August 2019

A scheme run in one area of London a few years ago was ideal.

Blockers had a large paper notice glued to their windscreens; using the type of glue they used to fix free CDs to the cover of magazines with.

It doesnt do any damage, but it takes 20+ minutes to scrape it off; as the paper rips to shreds when you try and remove it.

My local Lidl regularly has every one of its 5 disabled bays blocked by vans, pickups, SUVs and knobs in posh cars.
Parking enforcement action was promised nearly 2 years ago; but nothing has happened yet.

conman    on 27 August 2019

The disabled bays should be just for that, disabled people that have a problem walking, not as some bright spark of an MP has introduced :

On 30 August 2019, the criteria for the Blue Badge will change in England and more people with hidden disabilities will be eligible for a Blue Badge. DMUK predicts that this change will see a dramatic increase in Blue Badge holders meaning that disabled parking will be more pressured.

My late wife died of bone cancer, with every step she was in pain and now these disabled parking spaces can be taken up by people that have no problem walking.

Olga Lockley    on 28 August 2019

EXACTLY ! Also disabled people need to be able to open their doors to full width in order to be able to get in and out of the car.

Clive Mockford    on 27 August 2019

My wife has damaged to her spine, walking for short distances is all she can manage. It's not only supermarkets, we went into McDonalds and of the two disabled spaces, one had two motorbikes in. I will give McDonalds their due, when my wife told the manager, they were told to move the bikes, or they wouldn't be served.

amn    on 27 August 2019

I have always felt that the supermarkets should be able to clamp any car parking in a disabled bay without the blue badge and charge them at least £100 to release the clamp.

All proceeds should be given to a disabled charity

yes they might exercise discretion if someone is clearly incapacitated and doesn't have a blue badge

Zapdog    on 27 August 2019

While visiting my Mother, I used to take her to the supermarket and due to her illness used the disabled bays. Always conscious that I had no blue badge. I find people that do use the bays that don't need to utterly objectionable and there will always be people in society that will do this but a) why would you want to stop people in circumstances that need to use the disable bay that don't have a blue badge and, more importantly, b) in the years that I have used supermarkets I have yet to witness a situation where all the disable bays have been used. So, how big a problem is this really?

Heidfirst    on 29 August 2019

While visiting my Mother, I used to take her to the supermarket and due to her illness used the disabled bays. Always conscious that I had no blue badge. I find people that do use the bays that don't need to utterly objectionable and there will always be people in society that will do this but a) why would you want to stop people in circumstances that need to use the disable bay that don't have a blue badge and, more importantly, b) in the years that I have used supermarkets I have yet to witness a situation where all the disable bays have been used. So, how big a problem is this really?

If your mother qualified for a blue badge with her illness then you could use it when transporting her (it is what I do with mine).

You are lucky, it's a regular problem at my mother's local Asda in a shopping centre & at her hairdresser. At a standalone Aldi, not so much.

Edited by Heidfirst on 29/08/2019 at 13:53

DrTeeth    on 27 August 2019

For years before I got a blue badge myself, I continually battled with Tesco at Goodmayes. All they were concerned about was not hacking off customers and not the rights of the disabled.They should do what the Yanks do, levy an eye-watering fine.

Alex Chambers    on 27 August 2019

I have a minor disability and use a stick some days but don't have a blue badge so I appreciate the need for disabled spaces. More often than not there are loads of empty disabled spaces which is an absolute pain if you don't have a disabled badge and don't want to be registered disabled to keep your job or rent property.

I also run a village shop so I'm often collecting essentials like prescriptions and the like from chemists for elderly or disabled people but there is no provision for dropping or collecting elderly or disabled shoppers and, in particular, prescriptions since chemists are almost invariably in the middle of shopping centres, pedestrianised area or on high streets with yellow lines. The latter is a special problem since you can now order prescriptions for home delivery but often find that things like blood pressure tablets or insulin is delivered short or not at all necessitating trips to several chemists (try phoning Boots on a Saturday morning or Bank Holiday) to make up the prescription (also complicated by nhs surgeries stopping phone repeat prescriptions in favour of online only repeat prescription ordering).

The obvious solution is more short term spaces and less pedestrianised areas, smaller shopping centres, less one ways and rat runs so people with limited mobility and/or running for time to get back to care for elderly or children can get access.

If you want a perfect illustration of how disastrous the one size fits all approach (and give 'em a hefty fine from a private parking monopoly) try taking someone to casualty or a hospital appointment at a local hospital. Nowadays the good Samaritan is the cash cow of megahospitals where you can't just drop someone off as the appointment is often delayed by hours or cancelled altogether. I once saw a farmer lurch up to a casualty and be approached by a zealous parking warden despite obvious injury and blood everywhere!

The answer is to take the profit out of parking and stop killing small local shops.

daveyjp    on 27 August 2019

DMUK aren't very clever and I don't know why they continue with this charade.

Blue Badges rules don't apply in supermarket car parks. They are a reasonable adjustment provided for anyone who consider themselves disabled, this need not be a permanent disability.

I have a friend who would easily qualify for a blue badge, but does not want labelling as it suggests she is in some way 'less able', when she shows every day she isn't.

Engineer Andy    on 28 August 2019

I see many locals in my area using their parents' blue badges to do their OWN shopping - they can be used if the badge's owner is present, but I would say that's only the case half the time.

I also think some people are trying it on with blue badges - one owned a BMW i8, which anyone, including able-boddied people like me, never mind someone who finds it difficult to walk (including for longer distances), would have difficulty getting in and out of. NOT disabled.

The 'parent and children' spaces are similarly abused by parents who DON'T bring their children along, as well as the obligatory idiot white van men and those in expensive flashy cars who don't give a **** and park anywhere because (presumably) no-one calls them out or does anything.

God knows what will come next when the government is to reclassify blue badges to accept people on the 'Autism spectrum'. What next - blue badges for triggered millenial snowflakes? I give up.

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