Rogue parkers abusing blue badges in Lancashire

County Hall failing to crackdown on people misusing scheme to help disabled drivers
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Lancashire is among dozens of councils without a policy for prosecuting Blue Badge parking abuse.

Charity Disability Rights UK said it is "shocking" that nearly a third of councils are not taking any measures to stop abuse of the scheme.

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Councils issue Blue Badges to people with disabilities to allow them to park closer to their destination.

Lancashire among dozens of councils with no policy for prosecuting Blue Badge parking abuseLancashire among dozens of councils with no policy for prosecuting Blue Badge parking abuse
Lancashire among dozens of councils with no policy for prosecuting Blue Badge parking abuse

Department for Transport data shows that Lancashire was one of 46 councils that did not have a policy in place for tackling misuse in 2019-20.

Across England, drivers abusing the system were prosecuted 1,429 times in 2019-20, three fewer than the previous year.

In 98 per cent of cases, the prosecution was against non-badge holders.

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Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: "Abusing a Blue Badge is a serious offence and councils must take it seriously.

"Local authority traffic wardens have to cover lots of ground by observing urban centres, rural car parks as well as monitoring residential parking zones.

"Due to the reduced number of wardens, abusers feel they have a high chance of getting away with it."

Some people qualify for a Blue Badge automatically, while others have to be periodically re-assessed.

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The scheme was recently extended to include those with learning disabilities, mental health conditions and other hidden impairments.

In Lancashire, 60,460 badges were held last year – 6,080 more than in 2018-19.

Fazilet Hadi, head of policy at Disability Rights UK, said: "The Blue Badge scheme is absolutely vital to enabling disabled people to get out and about.

"We would like to see all local authorities take active steps to protect blue badge parking spaces for disabled people, with zero tolerance for people who abuse the scheme or those who unlawfully park in blue badge spaces."

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David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said councils are cracking down on the growing crime despite limited resources.

He said: "Many Blue Badge fraudsters are being brought to justice by councils who will come down hard on drivers illegally using them."

He added that people should tip off their local council if they suspect someone isabusing the scheme.