The Blue Badge Scheme is important to many, enabling people with disabilities to park close to where they need to go. However, in recent years there’s been a huge increase in misuse of Blue Badges which has led to a new crackdown by the Government in an attempt to combat the issue.
With fraudulent badges being sold for as much as £1,500 on the black market, the clampdown now sees traffic wardens being given the authority to confiscate forged and fraudulently used Blue Badges.
This move by the Department for Transport is significant given that previously traffic wardens only had the power to inspect badges and issue a fine, leaving the badge in circulation until it was eventually confiscated by a police officer.
The latest official statistics reveal that an astonishing fifth of the 2.6 million badges in circulation in the UK could be being misused. Previous attempts to prevent the abuse of permits included embedding a hologram onto the badge. Despite this, abuse of the priviledge continues, including badges being used by relatives after the original holder has died.
Traffic wardens are now expected to use a register, maintained by councils who issue badges, to verify the validity of any Blue Badge. It’s hoped that these new measures will help to tackle the issue.
A Department for Transport spokesperson commented: “Motorists who pretend to be disabled to get free parking are a nuisance because they prevent genuine Blue Badge holders from using parking bays designed for their use.
“These changes will make it easier for local authorities to seize badges being used illegally.”
Do you think the Government’s new measures are strong enough to combat Blue Badge abuse?