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back to article UK puts £55m into disabled parking reform

The government is spending £55m on reforming the system of blue badges which allow disabled people to park for free on the street and for up to three hours on double yellow lines. It is putting up the application fee for badges and creating a nationwide database to reduce fraudulent use of them. There were 2.3m badges in …

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Stop

Oh dear...

So, if you are seriously mentally impaired, the government will give you a special badge allowing you to park your car anywhere... Should do wonders for road safetly.

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Bronze badge

Where RFID comes into its own

Cars registered on the Disabled Drivers list get an RFID in a windscreen sticker that has plate, registration, driver info (basic) in it, with parking cops and copettes having the technology to scan. Not foolproof, of course, as bent civil servants could issue them to people proffering brown envelopes, but a first step towards a 'hard' ID system for disabled drivers and their cars.

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1500 quid

thought they were trying to bring thefts down not drive them up

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Silver badge

Easier solution

Bring back those weird pale blue 2mph 'Invalid Carriages' that used to potter round in the 1960s and 70s*.

Under my new policy, if you wanted a disabled badge you'd have to use one of those. The new policy would be like Biblical feel-good story; with the prospect of being forced to use an Invalid Carriage, tens of thousands of drivers all across Britain would be mysteriously healed of their crippling (but strangely unidentifiable) diseases and be free to continue driving sportscars and SUVs.

* For youngsters, they were something like the GWizz (favoured by slebs in London) but without the social stigma.

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Stop

Idiots..

Don't they ever learn ?

Forget the database ( probably impossible for NuLabor due to their obsession with them )

Forget increased charges - another tax aimed at people who can least afford it.

The solution: Simple, restore free parking places in town centres.

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Coat

A national database is the answer

Is there no problem that can't be solved by a national database?

I could knock something up in 5mins on a C64 that would store all British tennis champions then we would be assured of a Wimbledon win!

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Anonymous Coward

Not just cars

The blue badge system is associated with people rather than autos, so that those chauffeuring their less able bodied relatives and friends can avoid the penalties that would otherwise be associated with parking where the disabled person needs them to. My (frail, chairbound, blind) Nan has a badge that she takes with her on the rare occasions she leaves the house, and she's not owned a car herself for a decade.

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Flame

@ Oh dear...

Just what I expect to hear from an unwashed sub reader.

The badgs are obviously for their parents etc.

What they should do is add the reg number to the badge. I have had my badge (for my kids) stolen about 3 times.

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Al
Coat

Hoorah! More databases!

Is this part of a job creation scheme for out of work bankers? "You, too, can earn your old income doing Government Databases!" It'll cost a fortune, and be riddled with failures.

Cue a run of 'Daily Mail' stories of elderly paraplegics having their cars clamped because some numpty somewhere has put in the wrong data - and meanwhile anyone else gets one free with every five-figure donation to the Labour Party.

You don't need to be Mystic Meg to work all of that out....

(And those blue fibreglass invalid carriages were, unfortunately, death-traps. I can think of a lot of people I'd issue one to, but making them compulsory would be bad.)

Mine's the one with the blue badge, but it used to be orange.

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Silver badge

Looking for mentally impaired? Start in the house of parliament.

I would think that most people who have disabled stickers are also reliant on state support so I don't see how increasing the price will reduce fraudulent use of them. It is a blatant attempt to further demean the needy and save money at the expense of the weakest in society. This government of yobs knows full well that the more difficult and humiliating they make any form of social service the fewer of the truely deserving will apply. The ones who will jump through the hoops are those memebrs of the great unwashed with no shame, the only time they will do any sort of work is to sponge off the backs of others.

@Mike Richards

Those invalidd cars were for one person only and they needed a certain amount of mobility to use one. There are many disabled people who have very limited mobility and there are those that are not old enough to drive. Your idea is badly thought out.

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@Hollerith

And what happens when you change your car?

More bureaucracy, form filling and time waiting for the 'crats to send you a new RFID tag.

Besides, as it stands the blue badges aren't tied to a vehicle - they are tied to the individual which is as it should be - if you give a disabled friend a lift, you should be able to park where it's convenient for them, using their blue badge to do so.

Disclaimer - my partner has a blue badge, and I only ever use it when she's with me.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC - free parking

Er, we have that in my town. Not exactly a shopping Mecca, but people use it. (It's got a vile 1970's concrete abomination squatting in the centre of town, crushing all chance of the place having any character or soul, and the shops are a heady mix of charity shops, pound/discount stores and nail/hair bars, giving everyone a very good reason to go anywhere else)

But people still abuse the blue badge scheme, just to get 3 feet closer to the shops, so they don't have to make their poor long suffering overweight offspring waddle too far between the SUV and Thorntons.

Of course, a database is a total waste of time - what do they think the existing scheme is? At a glance, it's a list of people who are entitled to blue badges, renewal dates and so on. Looks like a database to me...

Free parking won't help at all in most places (some would benefit), and a new database is even more pointless. Only enforcement will do the job, and that means having wardens check that anyone using a blue badge space is definitely disabled (i.e. not just carrying a badge)

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Paris Hilton

Unseen disabilities

Precisly how would the wardens know if a person was disabled or not??? There are plenty of unseen disabilities that affect mobility. And what's with all the hate for "SUV's". Think about it: plenty of space for wheelchairs, easy to drive (ok, so not easy to park, hence the large parking bays) they're ideal... Since (according to the BBC) this only effects those in Englandshire, it's of limited concern to me, but frankly this reaks of another money making scheme. The badges should be free to those who need them. And they shouldn't take two damn months for the lazy council employees to get round to sticking them together and mailing them out.

Paris, cos after that rant, I need something to 'perk me up'

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Coat

@@AC - free parking

"(It's got a vile 1970's concrete abomination squatting in the centre of town, crushing all chance of the place having any character or soul, and the shops are a heady mix of charity shops, pound/discount stores and nail/hair bars, giving everyone a very good reason to go anywhere else)"

There is nowhere else to go. All UK towns are like that.

Mine's the one with the Oxfam price ticket.

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Anonymous Coward

No solution

is perfect.

There are indeed some very needy people, some with no visible disability (e.g. ME). Often, they have a badge so that someone else can drive them into town and then drive them back.

A National Database might help in preventing locally stolen cards appearing elswhere - however, is should be simple (none of this RFID rubbish - they need to keep it simple - look, the DVLA cocked up the driving license scheme - that's why we still have 2 part driving licenses).

As someone else has pointed out, increasing the fee is madness because those who are disabled are likely (but by no means always) to be on some form of benefit. If the scheme needs to be paid for, add £0.10 to the highest road tax rate.

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Stop

Not just badges that are abused!

These bloody disabled bays right outside peoples houses are getting out of hand. 7 out of 29 parking spaces in my road now disabled bays... one road very close to me has almost 60% disabled parking with a straight row of 7 at one point.

These bays are just as abused as the badges I've love to see two things happen:

1. Tough penalties for abuse

2. A maximum number/percentage of bays per road

At the rate these bays are popping up in my road within 3 or 4 years it will be a 100% ratio.

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Maybe they already thought of this?

Why not put photos of the badgeholders on the badge?

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Anonymous Coward

@Philip Bergman

They already do. As has been said before, a lot of people act as chauffeurs for disabled people (I do myself). As my wife is pictured on the badge, does it mean I'm abusing the scheme if I park in a disabled bay to go in somewhere and collect her? No.

I fail to see how a database will decrease the level of misuse.

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kel

Angry woman ranting, you might as well look away

The person the badge is issued to is not necessarily the driver of the vehicle. For example, if I drive my MS suffering friend to a restaurant the blue badge scheme means I can legally park on double yellow lines for a minute or two in order for her to be assisted into the restaurant. The car is then parked in a normal, non specialist parking space. She can and does drive, and being a recipient of blue badge allows my friend to her attempt to live her life, to work, to shop and to go out.

@ Anonymous Coward: Mental impairment is so vast that it is ignorant to suggest that a person with some degree of mental impairment should be banned from the road. However, in severe cases, it is the family and carers of the person with the mental impairment that drive that person around.

@ Mike Richards and your suggestion for compulsory invalid carriages: My friend has MS. She is mid twenties and she now struggles to walk more than a few paces unaided. She has kept her job, adapted her life and is proud of the car she saved up for and owns outright. Your suggestion she shouldn't be allowed to drive the decent car she has worked for, and paid for makes my stomach turn. She didn't ask to lose the ability to walk a few years ago, and in losing this ability she didn't lose the right to live her life like any other 20 something woman.

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wtf

how the sweet christing jesus can it possibly be so expensive???

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Unhappy

The way it stands

my road seems to be full of blue badges, mainly it's people parking (as we are) on the edge of congestion charging zone and local shopkeepers not wanting to buy a business permit.

The plod (wardens) have no power to see the badge, and as it's displayed picture down, they cannot tell if the badge holder is present or not. I have a badge as my partner is disabled, we could have our own bay too, but that would not be courteous to my neighbours....I pay the c-charge when I go through town, to collect her, as I dont think it should exempt me too.

On the one occasion I informed of misuse, Islington council did nothing in 7 months, so I emailed Barnet (where the badge was issued), within 10 days it ceased to appear in our dry cleaners cars (3 different ones) anymore and he had to buy a permit.

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Bronze badge

My guess is

That at some time in the recent past, some genius in Nullabour has figured out what Excel is for and is trying to impress by all the things he or she can do with it to mess with the British public.

As regards the old blue invalid carriages, I was always under the impression that they were given to disabled people to kill them off and save money. They were one of the most dangerous things on the road, which is why eventually when the gov had a stronger social conscience they introduced the Motability scheme.

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What's the point?

What's the point of stopping issues with the badges when most cars parked in disabled bays don't have one in the first place?

Of the 4 places I commonly shop, all advertise that they will clamp vehicles parked in a disabled bay without a badge. Every single time we go there, I see most vehicles parked without badges and no clamping happening.

So we're spending £55m in taxpayer's money for... what? Wouldn't that maybe be better spent on my doctor ?

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Coat

What is it with this lot and databases?

Either a PHB somewhere has decided that databases make the guvmint sound futuristic and in touch with technology (which they clearly ain't.), or someone is getting kickbacks from the people who set up and maintain them. (Wouldn't put this past them... in fact, I wouldn't put anything past them, they'd either nick it, outlaw it or tax it.)

Or they're just nosey buggers who want to put everything in a database for the sense of power it gives them.

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Stop

yellow lines!

Are there because its dangerous to park there how does allowing a disabled person to park there make it safe for them or other road users!?

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Go

@Philip Bergman - Photos on badges not thought to be a good idea

Mosty because it helps identify vulnerable people to aggressive thieves. This has already been discussed to death on Radio 4's "in touch".

One in two hundred isn't that many - unless it's clustered in particular areas.

Manchester City centre - park in the rain at 6 pm and not notice tiny sign at top of twelve foot pole, come out after meal to find some council bod has towed your car away, priceless - for everything else there's Mastercard (they do take Visa too to be fair). Spaces were *empty*.

I wouldn't mind but I never park in the spaces if I bloody see them.

But that's another discussion.

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incredible

lets hammer the people who qualify for badges and use them properly to pay for the thieves that dont...............

Only Nu Labour could come up with this bright idea, just to lay a few myths to rest:

The badge holders photo is already on the badge.The badge holder is not necessarily the vehicle owner but must be travelling in it.They cant park where they want they still have to adhere to rules many of which are complex and change from town to town.

If someone is found breaking these rules i think they should have their driving licence revoked heavily fined their car taken away and treat like the pariah they are.........dont pick on the very many people who use these badges properly.

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A database is not the answer

Putting registration numbers on badges is not the answer. My child has an unseen disability and is entitled to a badge. They badge gets used in my car, my partner's car, the grandparents' car and the car that belongs to a carer we employ. I would be happy to send in a photo to go on his badge and that would also solve the "he's not disabled" argument. As stated above this wouldn't help in the situation where I go to drop him off or pick him up and legitimately use the badge but he's not in the car and the attendant sees me get in/out on my own.

I don't think RFID would be of any help either. More needless equipment and cost. My son's badge is a simple thing that could be knocked up with a colour laser printer and a laminator. It has no security features at all other than a very complex number (which is written on in felt tip pen.) Stick a hologram on each one - It would be far cheaper than RFID chips and would weed out all but the best forgeries.

The only thing that points towards RFID is the database. No database = no need for RFID (even then it's only so the parking attendant doesn't have to key in the number or part of it by hand.) Please nobody suggest that there should be a website that you have to put the badge number and registration number into every time you go out or get in a car. IMHO this would be discriminatory and would oblige disabled people to have Internet at home and/or an Internet enabled mobile to use their entitlement. That's not even thinking about those with sight or dexterity impairment that can't use a computer or mobile or those on a limited income who end up on the wrong side of the digital divide. Make the attendant key the last 4 digits in and if it is a possible match to a stolen badge get him to check the whole number. All we need is a list of nicked ones, not a database of them all.

I would like to see enforcement against blatant abusers but as more parking becomes private I can't see it happening. Are Tesco's really going to play hard and clamp/ticket/tow a car that is improperly parked in a disabled space when the owner is walking out the store having spent £150 on groceries and the first thing he's going to say is "take that off my car or I'm never shopping here again" ?

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Disabled badge

Provided the badge displays the front side, and the clock card, and it is within the set time limit, it is NOt ALLOWED to move (tow away) the vehicle.

BUT there are many roads where the markings are very badly deteriorated so that the yellow bars at right angles to the yellow lines are no longer visible, and that will get you a ticket...

In my local Sainsbury it is remarkable the number of young healthy people with expensive cars (BMW etc), often playing the nastiest music, parking as close as possible and totally ignoring the reservation of disabled spaces.

P.

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*sigh*

The Blue badge -mandated by Europe - was a step backwards. the old Orange badge in use when I worked in parking enforcement at least had the holders name visible which allowed some policing of its use, for example one guy whom I noted repeatedly abusing the badge issued to his mother, he was reported to the issuing authority who investigated him and pressured his mother to deny him use of her badge by threatening total removal of the privilege - which this is.

Most badge holders are genuine and would rather have their health/mobility than fairly unrestricted parking, so why penalise them by heaping extra costs on them for policing a system aggravated by a poor permit design? the costs should be carried by those guilty of using stolen/borrowed badges.

A stolen badge database is all that is needed - just recored those that are missing! Many parking enforcement staff have datalinks available in their Hand Held Computers Observations should still be taken of Blue badge holders on yellow lines (Limit 3 hours) and the badge serial could be taken as part of the observation, the software could then "call in" the number any time it was entered to check, prompting an alert if a match was made - the rest becomes a criminal matter of either theft and/or fraud.

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Anonymous Coward

"Disabled" or "Lazy" ??

I often go in passenger seat with a friend who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, but can drive. Time after time we find disabled parking bays filled with old people , people who have a limp etc. They all appear to have blue badges but do we really need to class someone with a limp or old limbs as "disabled" ?. Surely these people could park and walk a little way, if only to keep fit , and then would leave spaces for those who actually are really disabled.

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Stop

Justification ? Keep it Simple Stupid (message to Government)

"I fail to see how a database will decrease the level of misuse"

At the moment the badges are issues locally, there is no national serial number system, someone looking at a badge has no way of verifying if it's stolen. So a simple index/serial number/issuance key i what's required. Nothing more for now, RFID will be a waste of money (like on my passport - it takes LONGER to get through immigration with a chipped passport compared to an optically read one).

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Thumb Up

Utter crap!

I worked with a guy who used to borrow his mother's badge then get free parking for his £55k BMW in central London. This is honest, if a traffic warden asked him where the badge holder was, he would always say she was at the library working on her OU course, so he could get as much free time on the spot without arousing suspicion!

I have also worked for a Gov dept that used to rent out cars to disabled people. The legal dept was the best place for a laugh, geniune disabled people using their cars and vans as taxis, delivery vans even had a bank job pulled once with the disabled driver using his rented motor as the getaway car!

People will always find some way to get something for nothing, no matter what it takes, make all the databases you like, won't stop people ripping something off!

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Anonymous Coward

God damn it

Whats with this government and this insane love for data bases . I dont get it. Maybe I'm just a slow yank, but data bases have limit uses . What nut job decide its a good Idea to charge some disabled person one month wage to park??

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Joke

Re: My guess is

Chris G said: "... some time in the recent past, some genius in Nullabour has figured out what Excel is for ... "

Slightly OT, I thought Barclays Capital were doing that at present, having bitten off more from the carcase of Lehman's than they intended!

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Anonymous Coward

the devil makes work for idle hands

This is a really serious problem, I mean, I'm knee deep in people with dodgy disabled badges on their cars.

It's called hidden unemployment, people coming up with this sort of bollocks need sacking.

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Joke

did you know

that there is a daatbase of people who oppose databases? :www.theregister.co.uk

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Joke

Put all the banks in a database.

If all the banks were in a database it would prevent fincancial crashes. This could then be used to self finance all the other databases. But, first things first, we must teach database creationism in every school and all exams should be multi-choice written in SQL..

I'm looking forward to the national ID database 'cause I want to type KILL {Jaqui Smith};

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cash cows

>>>Two thirds of councils said misuse of badges was a major problem<<, Nope. They mean badges make it harder for them to extort fines. That's why they are so-o expensive on the black market. If councils would stop acting like venal tax collectors and have fair parking policies, the problem would evaporate.

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Am I the only person...

...who's had Half Man Half Biscuit's "Blue Badge Abuser" stuck in their head for the past 24 hours?

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Anonymous Coward

Make abusers qualify

The solution is obvious; on the third occasion a person is caught abusing a disabled badge or parking bay they should be made to qualify. Maybe by breaking their legs.

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Joke

@ Throatwobbler Mangrove

In answer to your question:

"how the sweet christing jesus can it possibly be so expensive???"

Take these words and rearrange them: database government local to come up with the answer.

In fact £50 Million sounds like they are doing it on the cheap. Dont worry though, after some consultation, the realisation that they could get more personal details by adding the data of those people who do, or even might drive the badge holder around the price will steadily creep up. In fact add the data of the badge holders children too, that way when they reach driving age the details will already be stored.......

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Dan
Silver badge
Boffin

Too complicated

Al that's needed is a new flag on the DVLA database that makes the printer print out a different kind of road tax badge for that car. But it wouldn't be the government if they didn't waste millions.

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They don't have one?

I'm surprised that they don't already have a database for this. Shouldn't it be something that's tied into the DLVA, though not all badge holders are drivers?

As has been touched on its policing that's the problem. How does having a permit with a barcode or RFID on it help? The only thing its going to catch is stolen or 'lost' permits. This won't address some of the deliberate misuse mentioned above.

All schemes that involve conferring a benefit on members of the public will be open to some level of abuse due to human nature. As long as this doesn't get out of hand and reports of the abuse are dealt with sternly its something that we have to live with. Nu Labour seems to have this bee in its bonnet about 'fairness' though that means that it doesn't matter about the cost all unfairness and abuse must be stamped on. I'd rather they concentrated on things that matter.

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Bronze badge

Only with vehicle registration

My mother and other people I have met who are entitled to one of these badges tend to be travelling in only one vehicle. When I have taken my mother somewhere, I drop her off and then park "normally", paying if necessary.

Given the widespread abuse of this system, it would seem sensible to associate the rights with a specific vehicle - in which case it could be an addendum to a tax disc. No new database needed.

In the case of children and other non-driving disabled, it doesn't seem unreasonable to issue the privilege to their carer(s).

I'm just glad to live in Germany where planners ensure there is enough parking for every city centre development and it doesn't cost me a king's ransom to park. Better still, they have also built viable public transport.

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hmmm

remember that lots of people holding these badges are elderly people with no cars... so they have to get people to give them lifts - this is when they use the badge... so you cant tie a badge to a car reg.

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Bronze badge

Yes, that's right

Take a group of vulnerable people, in this case the disabled, put them all on a single database and lose it sitting next to a member of the Russian Mafia.

Standard NuLabour practice.

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