Blue Badge Bulletin - campaign update
New Year, new resolution
If you are a Blue Badge holder or drive for a badge holder, why not make it your New Year’s resolution to ensure you are familiar with the important rules of the scheme? There are many common misconceptions about what is and what is not permitted under the scheme. For example; can you use the badge to run an errand for the holder? Is it okay to occupy a disabled bay while the badge holder sits in the vehicle? While it may be considered that these examples are benefitting the badge holder, they are not – the only person who benefits is the able-bodied driver.
The joint campaign between the London Boroughs of Bromley and Bexley to prevent Blue Badge misuse goes from strength to strength. Continuing in its third year, the campaign also seeks to maintain the integrity of the Blue Badge Scheme. We also continue to look for new and innovative ways to prevent misuse across both boroughs as this helps ensure that badge holders have access to the parking spaces they genuinely need.
Since the campaign launch in 2016, more than 170 drivers have been caught and prosecuted in Bromley and Bexley Boroughs for using the concessions of the Blue Badge scheme when they were not entitled to. Each driver consequently received a criminal record and a fine of up to £1,000 with many of the cases involving badge holders’ relatives. Being aware of the rules as outlined in The Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities in England is therefore very worthwhile. Why not keep a copy in your car?
Councillor Kate Lymer, Bromley’s Executive Councillor for Public Protection and Enforcement said; “We strongly advise any able-bodied driver who is tempted to use a Blue Badge for their own benefit not to take the risk. Our officers are vigilant in carrying out their routine daily checks and we continue to apply a zero-tolerance approach. In other words; if you misuse a Blue Badge, you will get caught and you will be prosecuted. We also urge you to think about the consequences of misuse which can mean that drivers with genuine disabilities are forced to abandon a trip because they can’t park close enough to their destination.”
Councillor Peter Craske, Bexley's Cabinet Member for Places, said; “Blue Badge enforcement in Bexley continues and will only gather pace as time goes on. Drivers who deliberately abuse the scheme and think that their actions will go unnoticed should think again. Please remember that as a criminal offence, we will prosecute all cases where our investigations prove misuse has taken place. The consequences are never pleasant and include a criminal record and fine as well as being named and shamed publicly.”
Blue Badge misuse is a criminal offence which could lead to a £1,000 fine and confiscation of the badge. A court prosecution can affect employment, job prospects, travel visa applications, insurance, etc. Legal action may also be taken in circumstances where false information has been provided to acquire a Blue Badge.
Blue Badge holders: please ensure that your badge is used only for your benefit. You and anyone driving on your behalf should be fully aware of the following four key rules:
- Blue Badge holders must never allow friends or relatives to use the badge to run an errand on their behalf
- a Blue Badge should only be displayed if the badge holder is travelling in the vehicle as a driver or passenger, or for the badge holder to be picked up or dropped off
- a Blue Badge should not be used by a visitor unless they have parked to pick up the badge holder
- the badge holder should not wait in the car while a friend or relative goes shopping. This could prevent another badge holder from parking within a manageable distance of their destination
As a badge holder, you may have noticed that our officers are checking Blue Badges more regularly, or you may have been asked to hand over your own Blue Badge for inspection. If you are not around when an inspection takes place, a Civil Enforcement Officer has the right to ask the driver to hand over your badge for inspection and will need to establish that it is being used in accordance with the rules. We appreciate your co-operation and value your continued support with our campaign.
Please also remember:
- you should return expired or cancelled badges or those that are no longer needed to the issuing authority shown on the badge immediately
- if you suspect misuse is occurring, you can report it as follows: