Use of disabled parking routinely abused by the public

Disabled

​MSPs are urged to tighten legislation to halt misuse of disabled parking bays 

13th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Disabled parking spaces are still routinely abused, eight years after legislation was tightened.

Holyrood's local government and finance committee called on the Scottish government to create a public awareness campaign highlighting the problem.

The committee found that, overall, the legislation was "working well in practice". But there was a lack of public understanding about the effect on disabled people when the parking bays were misused.

MSPs heard from disability charities, third sector campaigners, local authority representatives and others.

The Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland said there was a "postcode lottery" on enforcement due to removal of traffic wardens in some areas and some local authorities having decriminalised parking while elsewhere it is dealt with by police.

Committee convener, Bob Doris, said: "Our committee was pleased to see that local authorities and some private car parks had cracked down on the misuse of disabled parking places since the act was introduced in 2009.

"However, during our evidence sessions, we heard from disability groups and many said there is still a perception that it is acceptable to use a disabled parking place even if it's just to 'nip to the shops'.

"We believe this is entirely unacceptable and people must understand that depriving someone of a disabled space could mean they are preventing that person from getting to their homes, jobs and to vital services.

"That's why we've strongly urged the Scottish government to devise a national awareness campaign in order to avoid the misuse and abuse of disabled parking in the future."

The committee's report also said more needed be done to reinforce the responsibilities of private car park operators under existing legislation.

Campaigner David McQueen famously staged a protest beside disabled parking bays in Fife which were being routinely abused last year.

He said: "The problem is no one really cares that much to enforce the legislation. So it's left to individuals' own conscience. And, as we have seen, that can be lacking.

The legislation needs to be rigorously enforced by all local authorities and police." 

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