It seems like there’s nothing like the subject of Blue Badges to get people energised with many local papers regularly filling their pages with stories of either people abusing the Blue Badge scheme or Blue Badge holders being given parking tickets unfairly.
The Disabled Person’s Parking Badge Scheme (“the Blue Badge Scheme”) was introduced in 1971 to provide a national arrangement of on-street parking concessions for disabled people, allowing them to access goods and services more easily. There are currently 2.3 million Blue Badge holders in the UK.
The Department of Transport have now decided to consult on changes to the Blue Badge scheme. The main changes being proposed relate to the eligibility criteria for the Scheme together with better ways of administering and enforcing the Scheme in order to cut down on levels of abuse. This may require altering the design of the badge to make it harder to forge.
A national database of Blue Badge holders is also being proposed. Another proposal is that different local authorities could vary the parking concessions granted to users of Blue Badges. This already happens in Central London, however the report also points out that this may add to uncertainty amongst Blue Badge holders about where they can park and for how long.
One idea being mooted is to try to lessen the financial worth of the Blue Badge to put people off stealing them. The idea would be that Blue Badge holders would no longer receive free parking but that Disabled People would be entitled to a ‘parking payment’ as part of their Individual Budget.
The final date for responses to be received by the Department for Transport is 17 April 2008. The full consultation document is available on http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/bluebadgereformstrategy