05 January 2009

Disabled badge abuse rife (From Basingstoke Gazette)

4:30pm Sunday 4th January 2009
By Lucie Richards »
BLUE Badge-holders in the south east are the most likely to lend their badges to friends and relatives according to a national survey.
Twenty-seven per cent of people with Blue Badges in the South East of England admitted to having lent their badge to friends or relatives – the highest rate in the country – according to research by the Department for Transport.
Most cited the reason that “it doesn’t harm anyone”, and only 43 per cent of people surveyed in the area think it is unacceptable to park in a disabled space without a badge.
Departmental chiefs say that as a result, 73 per cent of badge holders nationally report that they cannot always park near their destination.
The scheme, which was introduced 37 years ago, provides parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems or who have difficulty using public transport, and is used by about 2.3 million people across the country. Blue Badge holder Francesca Martinez, actress and comedienne who suffers from cerebral palsy, said: “My Blue Badge is a godsend that makes my daily life easier.
“As Blue Badge holders we all have a really important part to play in valuing our badges and not lending them to friends or relatives.
“I urge everyone to respect Blue Badges.”
More people will become eligible for the scheme as a result of planned changes – including more young children, severely disabled armed forces personnel, veterans and some people with temporary mobility problems. For more information click on www.dft.gov.uk/bluebadge

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