Cracking down on Blue Badge parking abuse

Ashford Borough Council is reminding those who have disabled blue badges to use their permits correctly to avoid facing a hefty fine or having the badge taken away.

Ashford Borough Councils’ Parking Enforcement Officers have been working closely with Kent County Council’s (KCC) Blue Badge Internal Audit and Fraud Team; as a result our Civil Enforcement Officers together with KCC will be cracking down on blue badge parking abuse.

Ashford Borough Councils’ Civil Enforcement Team will be carrying out a two month warning phase to crack down on those who misuse their badge, fraudulently use it, or who park where it would cause an obstruction or danger to other road users.

An education programme will take place between 30th January and 30th March. During this time, any drivers caught parking illegally and not complying with the rules will be issued with a warning notice. This approach will highlight to drivers the consequences of abusing the use of a Blue Badge by parking illegally or dangerously in the borough.

Following the warning phase, the council will begin enforcing where appropriate, and those who receive a Penalty Charge Notice will have their details passed directly onto KCC’s Blue Badge Audit and Fraud Team.

Drivers are reminded that using someone else’s permit, allowing another person to use it or refusing to allow an authorised officer to inspect a badge could lead to a £1,000 fine.

Civil Enforcement Officers are also authorised to seize a badge if there are reasonable grounds to believe it is a fake, it has been cancelled, it’s expired, it’s been obtained by false representation, or if it’s been misused by a non-registered user. This could result in a custodial sentence of up to a year.

Blue Badge holders are encouraged to refer to their handbook which clearly outlines the rules for using their permit correctly. Drivers are reminded they cannot park in the following circumstances:

  • Opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space
  • Where it would make the road narrow, such as by a traffic island or roadworks
  • Where it would hold up traffic, such as in narrow stretches of road or blocking vehicle entrances
  • Where emergency vehicles stop or go in and out, such as hospital entrances
  • Where the kerb has been lowered or the road has been raised to help wheelchair users.
  • On a pavement, unless signs permit it

Cllr Brad Bradford, portfolio holder for transport and highways, said: “Road safety is a priority for us, which is why we’re being more firm on those who deliberately abuse the use of their Blue Badge.

“These Blue Badge rules are not new; from day one of being issued a permit, drivers should be complying with the guidelines. We encourage all badge holders to read their Blue Badge handbook so they can park correctly for the safely of other drivers and pedestrians.

“We would like to remind drivers that the Blue Badge Scheme is designed to help people with their travel needs and it is not a licence to park anywhere in the borough.”

For more information about the blue badge scheme view the Kent County Council website or telephone 03000 41 62 62.

Ashford Borough Council 26 January 2017

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