Blue Badge Scheme

Baroness Thomas

Last Friday I introduced a Private Member’s Bill which includes clauses to clarify local authority powers over the Disabled Parking Badge scheme and extends it to people working on UK military bases abroad.  The Bill has already been through the Commons unamended and unimpeded because it has cross-party support. 

In the Lords, as is customary, the debate strayed wider than the Bill because so many Peers have experience of the Blue Badge scheme – and were keen to take the opportunity to air their experiences.  There were stories of ridiculously fierce parking wardens, people who park in disabled bays in supermarket car parks saying they are just going in “for a few minutes”, and the difficulties of dropping off a disabled person and then parking in a disabled bay without the disabled person themselves in the car. 

The Government has already made very welcome changes to the scheme without needing a Bill.  There is now a national database of blue badge holders, so an enforcement officer can ring and check by the road if a badge is valid or not. But some changes need primary legislation. One clause allows the exact design of the badge not to be made public to prevent clever forgers.  Another clause allows an enforcement officer – not just a police officer – to recover a badge so that, if it is found to be  stolen, for example, it can be cancelled.

With any luck, the Bill might well be law early in the New Year.

6 comments for “Blue Badge Scheme

  1. 06/12/2012 at 4:23 pm

    “One clause allows the exact design of the badge not to be made public to prevent clever forgers.”

    That means a warden, or anyone else checking a badge, needs in a few seconds at the side of the road to be able to examine the badge more carefully than an expert forger at home with all his tools and as long as he cares to spend.

    Besides, this is what we refer to as “security through obscurity”, which is never a good way to secure anything.

    • Croft
      07/12/2012 at 11:36 am

      As so often Jonathan you say exactly what I was thinking.

      The bill doesn’t address the elephant in the room which is the number of badges issued which @ 2.5M or so strains credulity – and anti-fraud efforts still seem ineffectual. Moreover badges are now issued for conditions which while presenting problems are not so serious or directly impacting on mobility. The effect can and is that with limited parking spaces it you often see those with the most serious conditions unable to use disabled spaces because they are full.

      • maude elwes
        10/12/2012 at 12:15 pm

        More hate crime against the disabled. How many disabled are there in this country? 11.5 million so badge allowance has a shortfall in the extreme.

        Here is how many we have according to government figures. And they always err on the under side, don’t they.

        http://odi.dwp.gov.uk/docs/res/factsheets/disability-prevalence.pdf

        Seeing as there is a total of over 11.5 million. Which of them would you like to remove the badges from first? The children perhaps, as they can’t drive. There is the perfect start for types who feel it is a lifestyle choice and that equality for those who have difficulties should not be access as the rest of us have and who should be banned from life anyway.

      • Baroness Thomas
        Baroness Thomas
        11/12/2012 at 2:56 pm

        @Croft – The Government only launched its Blue Badge Improvement Service in January of this year and my Bill won’t become law until the New Year, so I fear that it may be a little time before we begin to see changes.

        • Lord Blagger
          11/12/2012 at 3:27 pm

          d my Bill won’t become law until the New Year, so I fear that it may be a little time before we begin to see changes.

          =============

          So are you saying that all those Peers who’ve posted on the blog that the Lords can’t originate bills are tell us porkies?

    • Baroness Thomas
      Baroness Thomas
      10/12/2012 at 6:11 pm

      @jonathan – The parking warden, or enforcement officer, just needs to be able to see the badge number and then check on the national database who it belongs to. If it has been reported as lost or stolen, then appropriate action can be taken. What number would a badge forger put on the badge? If one is made up, then it would quickly be discovered.

Comments are closed.