Monday 2 January 2012

Blethers - and Blue Badges

Over the Christmas holidays I was having a bit of lunch in a garden centre restaurant overlooking the car park and noticed a large and expensive 4x4 taking ages to manoeuvre itself into one of the disable motorists’ parking bays outside the window.  It was a luxurious and costly bit of kit and the driver was obviously struggling to get the thing parked without impinging on adjoining parking bays. I thought that was considerate till I saw the expensively dressed middle aged couple step out and walk sprightly into the restaurant.

Wondering if they had left Granny in the car I had a look inside on my way past after lunch, noticed the Blue Badge on the dash top - and no-one else in the car.

Admittedly the car park was pretty busy with festive day trippers, but there were still lots of spaces on the far side. Perhaps the aforementioned couple didn’t see these spaces, or perhaps they just didn’t fancy the longer walk, or maybe they were in fact suffering from a deadly and debilitating disease that didn’t affect their physical abilities or their mental faculties – like sheer bloody laziness.

It’s also worth noting that they took one of the last two spaces with the other one being filled pretty quickly afterwards. Thereafter numerous other cars coming into the disabled parking area were having to turn round and leave having been denied a space at the inn.

Anyway, given the numbers of elderly folks who were having a Christmas lunch, with caring members of their family making their annual homeward pilgrimage, I thought that was pretty mean.

Apparently, ‘Blue Badge’ fraud costs local authorities around £46 million per year, not to mention the inconvenience that blatant mis-use of the scheme has on those who rely on their disabled parking permits. And here’s the good news, as of yesterday, the first of January, a new and harder to forge Blue Badge design has come into force along with tougher penalties for those who abuse the system.

The new badge will have added security features including a hologram, digital photo and serial number allowing the parkies to check up on them more easily.

It will also be more difficult to obtain a Blue Badge in the future with a new independent mobility assessment being undertaken before the new badge is issued. The scheme will also be widened to include those parents who have disabled children under three years of age and severely disabled Armed Forces personnel and veterans.

The only fly in the ointment, and to be expected really, is that the cost of the Badge will rise from £2 to £10. Admittedly it’s not a huge increase in the great scheme of things, but the Government doesn’t miss a trick, does it?

1 comment:

  1. Hello John and Happy New Year from Ruth using Eric's computer. What a nice blog your run. I'm sorry you didn't approach the well-dressed thoughtless pair that parked in the disabled space - I enjoyed a thing on TV about that, with people making all sorts of excuses once intercepted by the camera. One lady drove off and got her mother out of the care home, put her in the passenger seat, and came back to prove that she had an old mother, despite the fact that she had been parking mother-less (and illegally )previously!