11 October 2006:
DPTAC welcomes new inspection powers to cut Blue Badge abuse
The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) welcomes new powers to tackle abuse of the Blue Badge Scheme which provides a parking concession for disabled people.
Since it was introduced in 1971 the Disabled Persons Parking Scheme, known as 'the Blue Badge Scheme' has made a valuable contribution to the continued mobility of many disabled people. However, the Government's review of the scheme identified that there were concerns with abuse by non-badge holders which potentially could seriously undermine the scheme.
Neil Betteridge, DPTAC Chair, said:
"Genuine Blue Badge holders have nothing to fear from this change and should not be worried about being asked to produce their badge for inspection."
"The effects of the new powers will be to discourage abuse of the scheme and free up parking spaces reserved for badge holders, enabling them to park closer to their destination. This improves the quality of life for those disabled people who rely on their car for their mobility."
Grahame Lawson, Chair of DPTAC's Personal Mobility and Local Authority Working Group, said:
"Concern over abuse of the Blue Badge scheme was one of the key factors behind the review and the subsequent acceptance by Government of many of the recommendations of DPTAC. These included introducing powers for police officers, traffic wardens, local authority parking attendants and civil enforcement officers to check the photographs on the parking badges to make sure they were being used by the people entitled to use them."
New laws which came into effect on 29 September 2006 now make such inspections possible.
Notes to editors:
1. The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) was set up under the Transport Act of 1985 to advise Government on the transport needs of all disabled people. It has a maximum of 20 members (of whom at least half must be disabled people), representing a wide range of transport interests. Members are appointed by Ministers and are unpaid, apart from the reimbursement of expenses.
2. The Blue Badge Scheme provides a national arrangement of parking concessions for people with severe walking difficulties who travel either as drivers or passengers. The Scheme also applies to registered blind people, and people with very severe upper limb disabilities who regularly drive a vehicle but cannot turn a steering wheel by hand.
3. The Blue Badge Scheme is administered by individual local authorities. Local authorities already have powers to ask for a badge to be returned if it has been misused. Local authorities can also refuse to issue a badge if they believe it is going to be misused.
4. The Commencement Order came into force on 29 September 2006. It brings into force powers under section 94 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.
5. The new powers permit police, traffic wardens, parking attendants and civil enforcement officers to ask to see a blue badge; it will be an offence to fail to produce the badge without good reason.
6. For further information contact DfT Public Enquiries: 0207 944 8300.
7. For information on DPTAC, contact the Secretary, Andy Kirby on 020 7944 8012 (Fax 020 7944 6998) or email: email@example.com.