The Blue Badge scheme is being misused, leaving 80% of disabled drivers struggling to access parking spaces, a Department for Transport poll revealed today.
A casual attitude towards using Blue Badge spaces among non-disabled drivers and the widespread loaning of badges to family and friends were highlighted as key problem areas with the scheme.
Forty four per cent of non-Blue Badge holders thought that kerb parking and double parking were worse offences than taking a space from a disabled driver, the poll found.
10% share badges
The results also revealed that one in ten Blue Badge holders admitted to lending their badge to a friend or relative. This figure increased dramatically in London and the South East where over half of the badge holders polled admitted to sharing their pass.
A new initiative is being launched to encourage badge holders to use them responsibly, instructing them to report changes in circumstances to their local authority and to refuse to lend their badges to others.
Francesca Martinez, comedian and actor, encouraged Blue Badge holders not to lend their badges to friends. She said: “My badge is a godsend that makes my daily life easier. I urge everyone to respect Blue Badges. Every space is needed by a deserving disabled driver.”
£55m cash injection
The scheme, which has been running for 37 years, is being overhauled following an injection of £55m over three years, announced in October.
This will extend the eligibility criteria to more people, including some young disabled children, severely disabled armed forces personnel, and some people with temporary mobility problems or severe mental impairments. It will also provide £10m to help councils share data in order to identify fraud.