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Drivers warned once again about misuse of blue badges.

Byline: CHRIS TAYLOR

Drivers were quizzed about the misuse of blue badges dozens of times last year.

Renfrewshire Council revealed officers probed nearly 40 claims of improper use.

But not one person has been punished.

Local authorities have the power to remove badges if abuse is found.

James Taylor, head of policy at disability charity Scope, says more must be done to protect those in genuine need.

He said: "Many disabled people rely heavily on their blue badges to live independently and we need to crack down on misuse of the system wherever possible.

"It appears that some councils take their work to weed out those who are not disabled more seriously than others."

Renfrewshire Council has distributed blue disabled parking badges to 9,213 people.

Holders stop for free in designated parking bays under the scheme.

They can also pull up on single and double yellow lines on-street.

Passes do not cover private car parks and roads.

Badges are only given to disabled drivers and passengers and almost 17,500 applications have been made for them in the last five years.

Only 15,131 were successful.

Badges should only be used by those with disabilities and council chiefs recorded 39 instances of misuse last year.

Reports were up 85 per cent from 21 the year before.

Local authority bosses revealed they only started noting statistics for abuse in 2017.

Marianne Scobie, deputy chief executive of Glasgow Disability Alliance, insists abuse of spaces by those without badges is a bigger problem.

She said: "Councils have powers to confiscate badges and uplift cars due to the fraudulent use of blue badges.

"We remain concerned by the misuse of blue badge parking spaces by those without badges, which frequently occurs on-street and within car parks.

"Many disabled people rely on being able to park as closely as possible to their place of work, leisure facilities, or other destination, but frequently have to contend with non-badge holders taking up these spaces.

"Disabled people and particularly those with hidden impairments, are often subjected to abuse and harassment from those who deem them to be misusing a badge if they 'don't look disabled'.

"Added to this, inconsiderate drivers parking on pavements and across kerbs prevent many disable people from travelling around, especially those with visual impairments, wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments."

Renfrewshire Council insists those misusing blue badges are unlikely to reoffend after being spoken to by officers. A spokesman said: "When a badge is reported as misused, we inform the Central Audit Team, who meet the customer and explain the blue badge can be removed if there is continued misuse.

"We have found that after meeting the Central Audit Team there is no further misuse."

Many disabled people rely heavily on their blue badges to live independently

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Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Date:Mar 18, 2019
Words:475
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