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Crackdown on drivers who abuse blue badges starts next month

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New tough regulations cracking down on drivers who abuse blue badges will come into force at the end of the month.

Councils will soon be granted power to cancel lost or stolen disabled parking badges or confiscate those that have been misused.

In Scotland there are about 228,000 disabled people with a blue badges which allows them to park in restricted areas.

Research carried out by Transport Scotland in 2012 showed that 76% of badge holders would go out less if they were without their badge. Many also felt they would not be able to go out at all.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson, who is blind and has a blue badge, campaigned for tougher rules to stop people abusing the badges.

He first put forward a private members bill in the Scottish Parliament in 2013 and later got government support.

“We need this legislation because people think that third party misuse of a blue badge is okay, although it is not. We as a society should not tolerate that,” Mr Robertson said.

“When someone misuses a blue badge they do not just take a parking space, they deny a parking space to someone with a disability. When that person is denied a parking space they have to return home and might not be able to do what they went into town for.”

Misuse of a blue badge is already a criminal offence with a fine of up to £1,000. The new legislation strengthens the powers of local authorities and allow them to cancel badges that have been lost of stolen, and confiscate those that are misused.

It also creates a new offence of using a cancelled badge with a fine of up to £1,000.

Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “Blue badge misuse is socially unacceptable as it prevents the 228,000 legitimate badge holders across Scotland from accessing the on-street parking concessions to which they are entitled.

“Granting extra powers for local authorities to tackle blue badge misuse and confiscate badges that are not valid or are being used illegally by a third party for their own benefit will allow disabled badge holders to access services in the community and lead independent lives.”

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