New law fights disabled parking space misuse

DRIVERS who misuse disabled parking spaces face a crackdown after MSPs today unanimously passed a law to tighten up blue badge use.

Some take the spaces since they are conviently located closer to businesses. Picture: John Devlin

The Disabled Persons‟ Parking Badges (Scotland) bill will give extra powers to the police and local authorities to seize misused badges, which will be redesigned to make them harder to forge.

It will also introduce of using a badge which has been cancelled or should have been handed in, carrying a fine of up to £1,000.

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Blue badges permit vehicles carrying people with severe mobility problems to park free in specially designated spaces, such as near shop entrances.

Abuse includes family or friends using a holder’s badge when they are not in the car, and use of out-of-date badges.

Aberdeenshire West SNP MSP Dennis Robertson, who introduced the bill, said it would have a “significant impact for people with disabilities”.

He said the new law would raise awareness, but acknowledged it would not end misuse.

Mr Robertson has said he has evidence blue badges are being misused on a “fairly grand scale”.

Holyrood’s local government and regeneration committee heard in April that surveys showed up to 72 per cent of the 245,000 vehicle passes are being used illegally.

Transport minister Keith Brown said: “The bill will send out a strong message to those who might think about using someone else’s badge for their own gain. Hopefully it will make them think again.

“Misuse of a badge is not only illegal, it is socially unacceptable.”