Drivers and passengers who abuse the blue badge scheme in Angus could have their badges confiscated through new legislation coming into force at the end of March.
The blue badge scheme provides an essential service for disabled people in Angus, allowing access to parking bays which are normally closer to work, shops and other community services.
This parking access often makes the difference as to whether people with mobility problems live their lives as fully as they can.
Parking in a designated disabled space illegally, even for a few minutes, has a significant knock-on effect for the legitimate blue badge holders who are unable to find a suitable parking space.
Normal everyday tasks such as going to the shops, attending a doctor’s appointment or even going to work, things that most of us take for granted can become impossible due to lack of access.
The new legislation in the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Act 2014 will allow local authorities the power to cancel badges which have been reported lost or stolen and confiscate badges that are being misused.
The Scottish Government hopes that by providing these additional powers to confiscate badges and cancel lost or stolen badges, people will think twice before misusing them.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “Blue badge misuse is socially unacceptable as it prevents the 228,000 legitimate badge holders across Scotland from accessing the on-street parking concessions to which they are entitled.
“Granting extra powers for local authorities to tackle blue badge misuse and confiscate badges that are not valid or are being used illegally by a third party for their own benefit will allow disabled badge holders to access services in the community and lead independent lives.”
Research conducted by Transport Scotland in 2012 showed that 76 per cent of blue badge holders would go out less often if they were without their badge. Many also felt they wouldn’t be able to go out at all.
Abuse of the scheme reduces the number of on street disabled parking bays and on-street parking spaces available for use by genuine blue badges holders. Local authorities including Angus Council are keen to stamp out the misuse with Parking Enforcement Officers constantly dealing with possible cases of misuse.
The most common excuses given by those misusing the blue badge are:
I have just dropped badge holder off for shopping / doctors / dentist.
I thought I could use the badge as I will be collecting badge holder later.
I am collecting medication for the badge holder.
None of these will get you out of a fine of up to £1,000.
For more information on blue badges and the rules and regulations around their use, please visit www.bluebadgescotland.org.