Dudley Council has seized nearly 50 blue badges in recent months after people were found to be misusing them.
Disabled parking permits referred to as blue badges, allow eligible people to park in specific spaces on car parks, sometimes free of charge, as well as on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours if it is safe to do so and if it does not cause an obstruction.
People eligible for a blue badge include those who are unable to walk or have very considerable difficulty walking 80 metres and also people who have a hidden disability and qualify under new rules introduced in 2019. The badge can only be used by the named badge holder, or by a person who has dropped off or is collecting the badge holder from the place where the vehicle is parked. It is a criminal offence for anyone else to use the badge in any other circumstance.
But in the last 12 months, there has been a number of cases across the borough where people are using someone’s blue badge when either the person is not with them or they have stayed in the car.
The council has therefore seized 47 blue badges since November last year. When the badge is seized, it is returned to the rightful owner and they are reminded how the blue badge should be used. Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
"Blue badges are there to be used by the people in our communities who are most in need. Anyone who misuses a blue badge is taking a space from someone who really needs it.
"They are breaking the law, and this must stop. We will be proactively protecting the rights of people who have blue badges and pursue misuse through the courts. Anecdotally, blue badge holders have told us they welcome the action we are taking."
The council is working in partnership with BBFI, a public sector, not-for-profit investigation specialist. BBFI will monitor the situation and seize badges if they are found to be being used fraudulently.