Proposals for better enforcement of blue badge disabled parking schemes have been described as “justified” by Angus South MSP Graeme Dey.
Operated by local authorities, the badges allow parking concessions for people with restricted mobility or who have problems using public transport.
A new Bill to protect badge users and prevent the system’s abuse, however, has been outlined in the Scottish Parliament by MSP Dennis Robertson.
Under the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill, local councils would have the power to cancel badges which have been reported lost or stolen and to confiscate badges that are being misused. They would also provide a review process for applicants when their application is refused on eligibility grounds.
Mr Dey said he feels it is “entirely appropriate” to give local authorities the power to confiscate badges when they are used inappropriately or no longer valid.
He said: “Blue badges are handed out for a good reason and this service should not be abused by others, but I also welcome the offering of the review process for applicants who have been turned down on eligibility grounds.
“This is all about making sure badges get into the hands of people who require them and remain there.”
The Scottish Government is backing the Bill’s development and Keith Brown, transport minister, also supports the confiscation of badges that are not valid or are being used illegally.
He continued: “The proposals should reduce misuse of the blue badge scheme and help disabled people access the parking concessions to which they are entitled. The changes will ensure that the scheme is only benefitting those it was intended to help.”
The proposals have also attracted support from the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland, which advises the Government on disabled access to transport facilities.
Anne MacLean, committee convener, added: “The blue badge is an essential service for disabled people and the power to confiscate will be a crucial tool to tackle abuse and protect the parking rights of badge holders. People should be more aware of the rules which apply to the scheme and the impact of the misuse for disabled people. badges should only be used by those people who have been awarded a badge and have a right to the concessions.”