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Bill launched to tackle abuse of blue badge scheme

AS many as 8000 motorists in Scotland are abusing blue badges, using them to park illegally in specially designated spaces reserved for the disabled.

The claim was made yesterday at the launch of a Holyrood Bill aimed at tightening up the rules governing the scheme, which is being used by the offenders to gain convenient parking slots in car parks and on the street.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson's Disabled Persons' Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill is designed to strengthen enforcement of the scheme by giving councils the power to cancel and confiscate parking badges for the disabled which are being misused.

Around 4000 of the badges belonging to deceased had not been returned to councils by their families or carers, according to Audit Scotland.

Many are still still being used, and in some cases people are illegally reapplying for them when they expire.

Jackie Maceira, convener of the Scottish Disability Equality Forum, said: "There are over 4000 blue badges that are used which belonged to people who are deceased, but including other forms of misuse the actual level of abuse is likely to be double that. I think it is quite widespread, that is why I welcome the Bill."

He gave the example of family members making use of the blue badged vehicle when the disabled person is not present. Research by Transport Scotland, conducted by speaking to more than 800 individual badge holders, found 83% had experienced misuse of blue badges or disabled persons' parking spaces.

The blue badge scheme provides parking concessions for people with severely restricted mobility who have difficulty using public transport.

Misuse is a criminal offence, but enforcement powers lie with the police. Giving councils the power to cancel badges which have been reported lost or stolen and to confiscate badges that are being misused will bring the law into line with England. The Bill aims to establish a review process for genuine applicants refused a badge.

Mr Robertson said: "Tackling misuse will help disabled badge holders."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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