Blue Badge fraudsters are being given a chance by Bath & North East Somerset Council to return their illegally used Blue Badge or face a criminal record.
The Blue Badge return is the start of an initiative to clamp down on incorrect use of the badge within the area. The Council has teamed up with Avon and Somerset Police to observe vehicles and challenge users suspected of illegally using badges to take advantage of free and convenient parking.
Councillor Caroline Roberts (Lib-Dem, Newbridge), Cabinet Member for Transport, said, “The vast majority of Blue Badge Holders are law abiding and have one for entirely legitimate reasons. It is a minority who play the system. These people inflict a double whammy on both legitimate disabled drivers who cannot find a parking space and local taxpayers who should be receiving money into the public purse through a parking charge.
“The Council is giving the chance for Blue Badge fraudsters to come clean. Put simply, if you send in your badge we will not prosecute you. The advice to people borrowing a Blue Badge from someone who is a legitimate user is stop immediately. Either way, if you ignore this message, the Council and Police will apply the full force of the law to prosecute. Is it really worth a criminal record and up to £1,000 fine?”
Will Bee, Member of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee based in the West of England, said, “I’m sure that all blue badge holders will welcome steps to properly enforce the Blue Badge scheme. Misuse of the badge by people not entitled to it is as bad as parking in a designated parking space without a badge. It damages credibility of the Blue Badge, which for many disabled people is a lifeline to enable them to park within reach of shops and local services.”
Remember the Blue Badge rules
- Never use someone else’s badge, even if you are doing a job or running an errand for them;
- Never lend your badge to someone else, however well-meaningly. You will get them into trouble;
- Never buy a badge in the pub or on the internet. It’s not ‘free parking’; it’s a ticket to court;
- Never photocopy a badge or make a fake badge. Even a copy of your own badge is a forgery. It’s called fraud and will lead to a criminal record.
How local people can help
- Report any instances of suspected abuse to abuse Blue_BadgeEnforcement@bathnes.gov.uk or call 01225 477133.
- If you are using a Blue Badge illegally, post it to the Council at Parking Services, PO BOX 122, Bristol, BS31 9AE or face prosecution when caught;
- If you use the Blue Badge of someone who is a legitimate holder, stop immediately or you will be prosecuted.