Kirklees Council has warned that fraudulent use of a Blue Badge can result in a £1,000 fine – and the badge being confiscated.
Last year the council brought prosecutions which resulted in almost £12,000 in fines for Blue Badge misuse. And every case they took to court in 2022 was successful.
The Blue Badge scheme is a national arrangement of parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems, designed to help users undertake journeys that would not otherwise be possible.
Users of a Blue Badge can park closer to a destination, and in many cases, in larger spaces to facilitate easier access in and out of their car. The scheme is open to all eligible disabled people travelling as a driver or as a passenger.
A Blue Badge can only be used in a vehicle when it is used to transport the badge holder. The badge must be visible from the outside of the car upon parking, with the clock displayed if parking on double yellow lines or a time restricted area. Under no circumstances should it be used if the badge holder is not travelling in the vehicle.
Misuse of the badge by someone who is not disabled is an offence under Section 117 of the Road Traffic Act. The maximum fine on conviction is £1,000, in addition to any parking fine.
Since January 2022, Kirklees Council has handed out £11,868 in fines, an average £456 per offence, with a further five cases to be taken to a full court hearing later this year.
Clr Naheed Mather (above), Cabinet member for environment, said: “Sadly, Blue Badge fraud is on the increase. Not only does it take away spaces from those genuinely in need but it undermines the integrity of the scheme.
“Displaying a Blue Badge illegally is a crime. Our teams take matters like this seriously and will prosecute those responsible. Every case we took to court last year resulted in a conviction.
“Misuse could result in a fine of up to £1,000 and risks confiscation of the badge which may have an impact on its intended user.
“It is, however, important to remember that not all disabilities are visible and people with hidden disabilities can apply for a Blue Badge.”
If you think you might need a Blue Badge, you can apply for one on the Kirklees Council website https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/bluebadge