Lack of legal action on blue badge misuse
Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that councils in England took legal action against just 698 people for blue badge misuse in the year to the end of March 2021.
It is shocking that more than half of blue badge prosecutions come from less than a handful of local authorities, as this indicates that the majority of local authorities are not taking enforcement seriously.
The vast majority of prosecutions, 97%, were for people who used someone else’s blue badge.
More than half of the prosecutions were carried out by just four local authorities – Lambeth, Bromley, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Birmingham
And the data also showed that more than two-thirds of councils, 110 out of England’s 140 local authorities, hadn’t prosecuted anyone at all during this period for blue badge misuse. People found guilty of blue badge misuse can be fined up to £1,000.
Tom Marsland, the policy manager at the disability equality charity Scope, said:
“It’s appalling that year after year blue badge crime seems to be flying under the radar. This has been going on for too long. Misusing a blue badge could mean you’re taking the parking space of a disabled person who truly needs it. Laws around blue badge misuse are pointless if they aren’t enforced.”
David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association (which represents councils in England and Wales) said:
“Despite limited resources, councils continue to work hard to crack down on this growing crime and to learn from best practice. Before taking matters to court, councils will always consider whether there is sufficient evidence for there to be a reasonable prospect of conviction and will also consider if it is in the public interest.”