11th August 2021
11th August 2021
A Blue Badge allows the holder to park as close as possible to their destination, either as a passenger or a driver. This can be vital for individuals with mobility issues and other, perhaps less obvious disabilities. The ability to park closer to shops can help individuals go about their daily lives maintaining their dignity and freedom, something which many able-bodied people take for granted.
Following the changes made to the scheme in 2019, those with hidden disabilities such as mental health conditions, dementia and Crohn's Disease were able to apply for a blue badge. The most recent government figures show that there are around 2.5million Blue Badge holders in England, with this figure rising all the time.
It is wonderful to see a more inclusive scheme that understands the impact of hidden disabilities and allows more and more people to travel safely. The trade-off of this is that Blue Badge demand and enforcement issues are also on the rise.
A new study has investigated the towns and cities that recorded the Blue Badge and disabled parking related offences last year, with Milton Keynes topping the list outside of London with 5,962 Penalty Charge Notices (“PCNs”) handed out. Manchester falls at a close second with 5,799 PCNs.
Thankfully the North East cities were relatively low on this list with County Durham and Newcastle falling and numbers 19 and 35 respectively. However, this shows a huge lack of respect and understanding by able bodied drivers who choose to park in disabled bays or those who use someone else’s badge.
What will shave merely several seconds off an able-bodied driver’s commute, could cause untold distress, anxiety and physical or emotional discomfort to those who rely so heavily on these spaces. In some cases, the lack of blue badge parking can mean that a person who requires transfer to a wheelchair or ramp access to their vehicle may be unable to get in and out of their vehicle. The demand is high enough without those who do not require these spaces parking in them illegally and/or using someone else’s badge.
If caught displaying an expired blue badge or using another person’s badge, drivers may be hit with a fine of up to £1,000 and even in extreme cases, confiscation of a blue badge if it is repeatedly being misused.
As professional deputies it is our responsibility to ensure all of our client’s badges remain valid and to educate our clients and their families as to the procedure for using the badge to ensure that it is used properly at all times.
On a wider scale it is our responsibility, as both Court of Protection practitioners and responsible citizens, to educate those who may not fully understand the impact that misuse of a blue badge or disabled bay can have on the most vulnerable in our society.
For those who would like to understand more about what your rights and responsibilities are as a blue badge holder, please see the link to the government guidance below:
Newcastle council has set up an anonymous hotline dedicated to fighting this misuse. They ask that if you suspect Blue Badge is being misused to call 0191 277 2441 - all information will be treated in the strictest confidence. More information can be found here:
For those interested in reading more about the study on blue badge offences please follow the link below: