May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Lizzie Dearden
Friday, February 15, 2013
People who use their elderly and disabled relatives’ blue parking badges to sneak into disabled bays are being targeted by a Redbridge Council crackdown.
Police and the council are joining forces to stop people who do not qualify for passes using them to park in areas meant for people with mobility difficulties.
Proposed new measures could give councils on-the-spot power to seize badges that are being misused.
But Redbridge Pensioners’ Forum chairman John Coombes said the move could deprive vulnerable people of the passes.
He said: “People may not know if somebody is using their blue badge to go shopping or whatever.
“There should be an appeal process in place.”
But Mr Coombes does believe the council is “on the right track” to tackle fraudsters.
He said: “People misusing badges is quite widespread in Redbridge.
“It’s quite blatant – you see people who are not disabled using spaces in supermarkets.”
Frances Withers, 77, of Queenswood Gardens, owns a blue badge as she has arthritis and joint problems that prevent her walking long distances.
She said: “I think it’s a good idea to stop fraud but it depends how they are going to do it.
“I feel there should be a photo on the front of the badge because at the moment there’s no way of parking attendants seeing it.”
The council said it is taking the action to keep parking spaces free for “genuine users”.
Misuse of the badges is becoming increasingly common and last year Redbridge residents were prosecuted for fraudulently using a family member’s badge to park in Enfield.
A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “A blue badge is provided to help those people in need and it is morally wrong and illegal for anyone else to use it.”
All people issued with the passes are given a rule book.
For information about the scheme visit www.redbridge.gov.uk/bluebadge.