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Enforcers could confiscate misused badges

Plain-clothed parking enforcers could be empowered to confiscate disabled parking badges which are displayed incorrectly and prosecute suspected fraudsters.

"Blue badges" can save disabled drivers more than £6,000 a year in parking fees, the Scottish Parliament has heard. But the current badges are too easy to forge or tamper with, creating a temptation for non-disabled drivers to cash in, blind MSP Dennis Robertson told MSPs.

His Disabled Persons' Parking Badges Member's Bill will see the creation of new secure badges and empower non-uniformed enforcers to confiscate misused badges.

Anyone found displaying a blue badge in a car without the presence of the registered owner could be liable to prosecution, MSPs heard.

The Bill has been endorsed by transport minister Keith Brown, Holyrood's Local Government Committee and received the unanimous support of Parliament at its first stage yesterday.

Mr Robertson said: "Can I reassure members that when we look at confiscation it would only be carried out if it's felt that there is a justification to do so. In most cases I think an examination by an enforcement officer will probably determine whether that badge has been tampered with or is the badge of the person in the vehicle at the time."

Local Government Committee convener Kevin Stewart said: "People misuse badges for financial gain, either with fraudulent badges or using a badge when the badgeholder is not present.

"Given that, for example, in Glasgow city centre parking costs £3 an hour you can see the temptation."

Labour's Mark Griffin said his party backed the proposals, and Tory Cameron Buchanan, himself a blue badge holder, congratulated Mr Robertson for bringing forward the Bill.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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