People in Argyll and Bute with mobility difficulties who rely on their Blue Badge to allow them easier access to parking bays are suffering because of the illegal display of the badges by others who are not eligible to use them.
Now, Argyll and Bute Council is backing a Scottish Government campaign to allow the confiscation of badges from drivers and passengers who are suspected of abusing the Blue Badge scheme, thanks to new legislation coming into force at the end of March.
In Argyll and Bute the council’s amenity and environmental wardens will have powers to deal with possible cases of misuse. They will have the authority to approach people who have parked in a disabled bay and inspect any Blue Badge being displayed. If they have reasons to believe the badge is being incorrectly used they are authorised to confiscate the badge and pass it to the Council’s Social Services Department for investigation.
The council’s Policy Lead for Adult Care, Councillor Dougie Philand said, “The Blue Badge scheme can be a lifeline for people with mobility problems and can often make the difference to them to living their lives as fully and richly as they can.
“The council is committed to making it possible for people in our communities to live active, healthier and independent lives, and this includes protecting the use of Blue Badges which provide an essential service for disabled people by allowing access to parking bays which are normally closer to work, shops and other community services.
“It is a criminal offence to misuse a Blue Badge – hopefully this new legislation will make people think twice before they do so.”
Blue Badges are issued by the council, and remain the property of the council, and council can ask for a badge to be returned if it is being misused.
Research conducted by Transport Scotland in 2012 showed that 76% 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
For more information on Blue Badges and the rules and regulations around their use, please visit www.bluebadgescotland.org
For information on how to apply for a Blue Badge in Argyll and Bute please visit http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/blue-badges