Do You Have The Blue Badge Blues?

Sat 28th May 2022

The UK’s disabled parking scheme is being abused and almost half of councils and local authorities aren’t actually reporting complaints.

The Disabled Motoring UK organisation said that there were 4,815 reports of misuse of blue bays in the UK in 2021, but if only 57 per cent of those complaints are being reported then the problem could be significantly greater.

The Freedom of Information request saw a response from 180 of the 207 councils, but the DMUK said that they are concerned that so few of the incidents of misuse and abuse are recorded.

“We receive frequent reports and online comments about Blue Badge abuse in areas throughout the UK,” said Heidi Turner, DMUK’s communications and campaigns director.

“We don’t have any hard data on the scale of the problem but cannot believe it is just 5,000 cases.”

The Blue Badge scheme was introduced to ensure safer and easier parking for the UK’s disabled drivers, but Traffic Wardens are supposed to inspect Blue Badges to ensure that the holder is present. Many are allegedly abused by friends or families using them, and though there were 585 prosecutions, resulting in £121,507 of fines, more needs to be done to curtail the abuse.

Speaking in response to the findings, the Local Government Association said: “Councils take Blue Badge fraud seriously and are working hard to combat it. Gathering evidence and mounting a prosecution can be time-consuming and expensive but councils know their areas and are best placed to decide the most effective way to tackle it.

“Illegally using a Blue Badge is not a victimless crime. For disabled people, Blue Badges are a vital lifeline that helps them get out and about to visit shops or family and friends. Residents are urged to contact their council about people they suspect are illegally using a badge, bearing in mind people's need for a badge might not always be obvious.”