Council will have your blue disability badge if you abuse parking powers
Changes to legislation mean that some North Somerset Council employees will now have the power to seize blue badges if they are being misused.
The Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges Act 2013 will enable enforcement officers, which includes parking attendants and authorised council officers) to inspect and retain a badge without a police presence if they have reasonable grounds for believing that the badge is a fake, should have been returned, or is otherwise being misused.
North Somerset Council's deputy leader, councillor Elfan Ap Rees, whose portfolio includes parking and highways, said many genuine blue badge holders who use their badge correctly rightly get annoyed when they witness misuse, as do members of the general public.
He said: "Clearly blue badges are invaluable in helping genuinely disabled people park and those who use them legally have nothing to fear from these new powers.
"However the council needs to ensure officers have better control of blue badge use and spaces, so that blue badge holders have the best opportunity to park.
"Unfortunately we know that there is abuse of blue badges and this legislation means that staff will be able to seize badges they believe are being misused, which could also lead to prosecutions."
Until now, police or enforcement officers could inspect badges but only the police could seize badges.
He continued: "Our parking attendants already check blue badges on and off street and now, if they believe badges are being misused they will use these new powers to seize them.
"However, officers don't want to treat genuine cases unfairly and would recommend that blue badge holders consult their blue badge booklets to ensure they fully understand and comply with the rules particularly when they travel in someone else's vehicle, when the driver may not be aware of all of the conditions."