Blue badge scheme extended despite fears in fraud

PUBLISHED: 15:50 30 August 2019

North Somerset Council is cracking down on the misuse of blue disabled parking badges.

North Somerset Council is cracking down on the misuse of blue disabled parking badges.

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More people are eligible for a blue disabled parking badge after a change in the regulations.

Department for Transport guidelines over issuing the permits has been altered to open up the scheme, particularly for people with non-obvious disabilities.

Conditions such as autism, dementia, anxiety and mental health disorders can affect people's mobility but were not recognised before the scheme was changed on Friday.

North Somerset Council expects it will issue 10 per cent more permits as a result.

It hands out approximately 12,000 a year at the moment.

Deputy leader Mike Bell said: "These changes will make a huge difference to people - providing better access to work and other local facilities, as well as helping people stay connected to family, friends and their communities.

"We're expecting to have an increase in applications and also more appeals and assessment clinics, together with a need for specialist advice on autism and mental health issues.

"With an increase in the number of people eligible for a blue badge there is a risk that more people might try to use blue badges fraudulently, and we take this very seriously. But let's be clear - most people need their blue badge and use it appropriately.

"For those North Somerset residents living with conditions that might not be obvious but which affect their everyday life, this change offers a real lifeline - helping them be able to do the types of things that many of us simply take for granted."

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