By Bill Heaney
Blue Badge holders could face a hefty £1,000 fine if they continue to display it when they no longer need one, or it has expired.
Add this to the fact that you will soon be fined up to £150 for parking on the pavement and the usual charges for parking on double yellow lines.
And the fact that one elderly lady driver says it would be easier getting a\ pass to get you into heaven than a blue badge from West Dunbartonshire Council.
The woman, who does not wish to be named, was furious when she came off the telephone from Church Street this week.
She said she had made her initial application in early June and was now being made to jump through hoops and fill in forms which seemed completely unnecessary.
“It’s just red tape. An acquaintance who has received her disabled badge has advised me to be more economical with the truth.
“She said to just fill in the forms and tell them as little as possible, just enough to keep them happy if that is at all possible.”
She added: “The service is pathetic. They simply keep moaning about their own situation and complaining they are short-staffed.
“How many people does it take to produce a disabled badge? About as many as it does to change a light bulb.”
The woman, who has great difficulty walking any distance and has stopped driving “hopefully temporarily” because of her condition, says she has been in touch with Dame Jackie Baillie’s office but even she has not been able to obtain a result for her from Labour-controlled West Dunbartonshire Council.
Meanwhile, the Daily Record newspaper has embarked on a campaign to explain the parking rules and restrictions everyone should know.
They told readers: “It’s not just a parking penalty notice people need to be aware of as there are several examples of Blue Badge ‘misuse’ which are classed as a crime and could lead to prosecution.
“A Blue Badge enables people of all ages with a disability or health condition – that impacts on their ability to walk – to park closer to the places they want to go, including the supermarket, events venue or GP’s clinic.
“A Blue Badge holder travelling either as a driver or passenger can park for free in disabled parking bays and may also be exempt from other parking restrictions.
“However, displaying the piece of plastic the wrong way up on a dashboard, or allowing other people to use your badge when you’re not with them, could be classed as ‘misuse’.”
Examples of misuse include:
- allowing other people to use your badge when you are not with them
- allowing others to take benefit from your badge while you sit in the car
- displaying a badge so that the details on the front cannot be read
- copying or tampering with the badge
- using the badge if it is expired
- using the badge if you are no longer eligible
Councils have the right to investigate individuals who they believe are misusing their badge, or allowing others to misuse their badge. If you are found guilty of misuse, your badge could be withdrawn – the Local Authority has the right to refuse any future badge applications.
How to display your badge correctly
The easiest one and quickest issue to fix is making sure you’re displaying the badge properly.
At the top of the badge in a yellow banner on either side it says ‘front’ and ‘back’ – the ‘back’ side is the part that should not be on display as it shows your picture, expiry date, badge number and full name and should NOT be visible through the windscreen.
Transport Scotland guidance adds: “If there is no dashboard in your vehicle, you must still display the badge in a place where it can be clearly read from outside.”
If your badge becomes unreadable through wear and tear, return the badge to your Local Authority so that they can issue you with a new one.
Returning your Blue Badge
You must return a badge to your Local Authority if:
- the badge has expired
- your medical condition or mobility improves and you no longer qualify for the badge
- the badge becomes damaged or faded and cannot be read
- your entitlement for a temporary badge ends
- the badge holder dies
- you have misused your badge and have received a withdrawal notice
Transport Scotland warns: “If you continue to display the badge when you no longer need it you may be fined up to £1,000.”
A Blue Badge costs £20 in Scotland and is valid for three years – the Blue Badge costs £10 in England and is free in Wales – find out how to qualify for a Blue Badge here.