A campaign to crack down on people who are misusing Blue Badges is being stepped up.
Derbyshire County Council’s campaign was launched last year with the warning that people found using a Blue Badge when they shouldn’t be could be fined up to £1,000.
As part of the campaign we ran a month-long blitz on badge misuse earlier this year, targeting parking hotspots across the county.
And we’re planning further targeted crackdowns across the county later this year.
In the recent blitz parking enforcement officers checked almost 300 Blue Badges and made phone calls to badge holders at home to check whether or not they were out with their badge.
As a result of phone calls seven parking tickets were issued to people found to be misusing Blue Badges and letters sent to the Blue Badge holders about the misuse.
Blue Badges are issued to people with severe mobility problems and a badge holder can display their badge in their car or any vehicle they are travelling in, to park closer to where they need to be, often for free.
You shouldn’t use a Blue Badge if:
* it doesn’t belong to you – you must not borrow it or use it after someone has died
* the badge holder is not with you in the car, including when you are parking
* you no longer qualify for the badge or it is out-of-date.
There are currently 50,000 Blue Badge holders across the county and around 5,000 new applications are approved every year.
At the beginning of last year changes were introduced to the Blue Badge scheme as part of the Government’s national initiative called the Blue Badge Reform Programme.
The reform programme aimed to improve administration of the Blue Badge scheme, making it easier for misuse to be identified and harder for fraudsters to produce and illegally use badges and ensure only genuine users benefit.
Information on all new applicants is now held on a national database and the new Blue Badges are of a higher specification making them harder to copy.
The application process also changed, and people applying for or re-applying for badges must now have a full assessment.
Derbyshire parking enforcement officers are continuing to check Blue Badges when they are on patrol with targeted crackdowns planned in the summer and autumn.
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care Councillor Charles Jones said: “Blue Badges are invaluable to people with mobility problems as they can use them to get out and about and park closer to where they need to go.
“When people misuse them they are taking up spaces which should be being used by genuine Blue Badge holders.
“We want to send out a clear message to people that if they misuse a Blue Badge we will catch them and they risk a fine of up to £1,000. Misuse can also result in the Blue Badge being taken off the authorised holder.”
People can report Blue Badge cheats by phoning Call Derbyshire on 08456 058 058 or they can email firstname.lastname@example.org
For a reminder of the Blue Badge rules people can visit the county council’s website at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/bluebadge.