New blue badge laws not enforced

Blue-badge-2

Just one enforcement officer to tackle blue badge misuse across entire country 

24th April 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

New legislation designed to clamp down on blue badge fraudsters has been slammed as ineffective by a disabled rights campaigner - because councils are failing to put resources into enforcement. 

Laws clamping down on misuse of the badges came into effect this month giving parking attendants the power to remove them if they believe they aren’t being used appropriately.  

But it has been revealed that only one council in Scotland has employed an enforcement officer – Aberdeen.

The blue badge scheme allows certain groups of disabled people to park free and for any length of time at on-street parking meters and on-street pay and display areas.

But a large number of unscrupulous drivers are using badges which don't belong to them or are fakes.

If they don’t put in the resources we will never get the changes

Disability rights campaigner Bob Benson of Rannoch, Perthshire, who has polio, said: “Given the lack of resources being put into this, I’m not surprised at the level of prosecutions.

“I’m disappointed local authorities don’t appear to be providing the additional resources required to properly police the changes in legislation.

“If they don’t put in the resources we will never get the changes this new law was brought in for.”

Legislation now means police and parking attendants can demand to examine a badge with failure to comply resulting in a fine of up to £1,000.

Disabled badge holders can also face sanctions for allowing others to misuse the scheme.

These include fines and having their badge withdrawn.

Aberdeenshire MSP Dennis Robertson, who is blind, pushed forward the new legislation.

He said: “The blue badge legislation is a power, not a duty. It empowers local authorities and their enforcement officers.

“That they have not assigned dedicated enforcement officers is not to say that they are not committed.

“I believe local authorities have signed up to this and they are aware that this is an issue.

“It’s up to each authority how they approach the matter, however I hope they will utilise the legislation for the benefit of blue badge holders whose access to services is affected by those who misuse badges.”