Councils accused of being slow to act on disabled parking

Published 04 December 2019

The Government is being urged to put pressure on councils after it emerged that one third of local authorities do not enforce Blue Badge disabled parking rules.

The number of drivers misusing disabled parking permits has jumped by 18 per cent, with 1432 prosecutions being recorded between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019. However, with just 66 per cent of councils enforcing Blue Badge rules, the true figure of misuse in England is expected to be far higher.

Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) has labelled the Department for Transport figures as "disappointing", saying out of the of councils that have a ‘yes’ policy when it comes to prosecution of Blue Badge fraud, just 61 per cent said they actually enforced them. 

DMUK has pointed out that, of the 1423 prosecutions, 983 of these took place in London, meaning that if you live outside of the capital you are likely to see very little enforcement of the Blue Badge scheme in your local area.

"We want to see all local authorities enforcing the scheme properly and prosecuting people who abuse it to improve its integrity and make parking easier for genuine Blue Badge holders," said Heidi Turner, communications and campaigns director of DMUK.

DMUK has deep concerns that abuse of the Blue Badge is likely to worsen now that the scheme has been extended and this means genuine Blue Badge holders will find it harder to find suitable parking.

"We would like to see the Government put more pressure on local authorities to enforce the scheme to make sure it benefits only genuine Blue Badge holders," added Turner.

"If a local authority has a policy to prosecute abuse, they must prosecute people who abuse the scheme. It is not enough to have a dormant policy and no action. The charity is very concerned that without adequate enforcement the integrity of the scheme will be undermined and be of no benefit to any disabled person.”

There were 2.29 million Blue Badges held in England as at 31 March 2019, a decrease of 59,000 (2.5 per cent) since March 2018. Ninety nine per cent of Blue Badge prosecutions were non-badge holders using another person’s badge.

Comments

Heather Bradshaw    3 days ago

Where I work in Birmingham the parking wardens are very quick to pick up on the slightest thing. I park on a single yellow line outside my workplace, and the wardens have told me that I must move my car after 3 hours, even if it is a few feet. I have had several tickets, one of which was about 3 or 4 minutes after the 15 minute of the hour I was parking there for, and we don’t finish work until exactly that 15 minute point. I get out as soon as I can, but he was writing a ticket and so had to continue even though I am on crutches and very slow. Apparently Birmingham City Council have been cracking down on Blue Badge abuse, not just fraud, and even though most of the wardens know me and know I will get out as soon as I can, they have been told to be very strict. Yet they don’t enforce the abuse of people ‘feeding’ their parking meters when it clearly states on the meters ‘ no return within the hour...’’ and people stay there all day. I feel ‘discriminated’ against in that situation because they have also marked most of the yellow lines I used to park on with ‘no stopping’ yellow stiles down the kerb. So sometimes I have to park quite a long way away from my workplace door, and I am carrying a lot of stuff on crutches, both on my back and in my hands, which makes life very difficult and I really struggle to walk those extra metres!

   3 days ago

As a blue badge holder myself I have full sympathy in this matter. My personal gripe in regards to this matter is the amount of abuse of Disabled parking in major supermarket car parks. Councils will say that they have no legal rights to enforce the law in these circumstances, WRONG the law applies to all areas where the public has vehicle access it applies in England and Wales you can't miss it if you read the highway code it's on the first pages, typically in a supermarket car park, you are obligated to obey the rules of law with regards to driving. Many people think that as it is on private property no rules apply again WRONG.
I have a list of offences that I see on a daily basis in supermarket car parks
1 Leaving the blue badge holder sitting in the car while shopping.
2 Non blue badge holders using Disabled bays
3 The most offensive one of all threatening with violence any Disabled person challenging a non blue badge holder using a disabled bay
4 Visiting executives and salesman using disabled bays
5 Police and ambulances using disabled bays when not on an emergency response, just shopping for tea and biscuits etc.
6 Drivers going straight through stop signs in the belief that they are driving forward so must have the right of way.
7 Contractors using disabled bays so that they won't have to far to walk.
8 Drivers who think it doesn't matter as I am just using the cash point, buying a lottery ticket, cigarettes or newspaper, any or all of these is their excuse.
9 Drivers going the wrong way in a one way system.
10 The basic reason for all of this is due to the fact that the space marked out for a car to park in is basically to small, I even include disabled bays, over the years car's have got bigger. Car parks are designed to get the maximum number of vehicles on site as many car parks generate income i.e. designed by accountants just like the Titanic, Indeed I have parked in some parks where despite all of the nearest vehicles being parked correctly you have to do a limbo dance to get out of the car.
My personal view is that if the major supermarkets and car parks can't police the abuse of disabled parking, then the council's should give them a month to sort out the problems or they will enforce the rules.
Also there needs to be a National minimum size of car bays as the current ones go back to the 1960s.
Last of all the council's should realise that there are many thousands of voter's use car parks every day, so how could just one supermarket or car park operators opinion carry more weight than the thousands who have to suffer from this ridiculous scenario on a daily basis. Secondly we have to pay our council tax, do the giant supermarkets or do they get relief for both council tax and business rates also paid for by us little people.

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