25/03/2011 - Permalink

Council tackles Blue Badge fraud

Related topics: Community

Blue Badges provide a lifeline to 13,500 people with disabilities in Shropshire every year by prioritising parking places close to important services.

However badgeholders are being disadvantaged by other people who are abusing the system.

Shropshire Council, in partnership with the police, is tackling the misuse of the scheme. While already working to stop people exploiting the system, the council will be supported by new powers which will be introduced by the Government from April 2011.

Using stolen or fake Blue Badges or allowing a family member or friend to use them without the badgeholder in the vehicle is fraud*. Misusing a Blue Badge could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

Councillor Martin Taylor-Smith, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for transport and IT, said:

“The Government estimates that Blue Badge fraud is costing the UK £46 million a year.

“We are committed to reducing the levels of Blue Badge fraud in Shropshire and ensuring that those who rely on the scheme are not losing out because of fraudsters.

“The council’s parking service will be raising awareness of the issue by educating motorists while out and about in the county.

“The new measures also mean that officers will increasingly have more powers to take action, and we are encouraging people to contact us if they think anyone is fraudulently using badges.”

The first of the new measures which come into force include widening the grounds on which badges can be withdrawn, the introduction of standard electronic Blue Badges which are more difficult to alter and forge, and extending the scheme to more people.

Chair of the Shropshire Wheelchair User Group, Sue Wood, said:

“The Blue Badge scheme helps people with disabilities to retain their independence.

“In recent months there has already been a noticeable reduction in the abuse of Blue Badges.  We welcome the council and police’s further efforts to tackle Blue Badge fraud and prevent legitimate badgeholders being deprived of vital parking spaces.”

Shropshire Council is urging people with any information on anyone misusing Blue Badges to report them by calling 0345 6789 019. Alternatively they can report it online at www.shropshire.gov.uk/parking

More general information about Blue Badges and parking is also available at this web address.

*This does not include parking and waiting to transport a badge holder.