Latest figures on the number of blue badge fraud prosecutions show that B&NES Council has brought the highest number of cases in the South West region, and ranks in 20th place nationally.
The figures published by the Department of Transport (DfT) last month show that of 1,432 prosecutions nationally against people using blue badges illegally, 92% were carried out by local authorities with 22 cases in Bath and North East Somerset.
The prosecutions were brought by the council and supported by Blue Badge Fraud Investigation (BBFI).
Councillor Joanna Wright, joint cabinet member for Transport Services, said: “The majority of Blue Badge holders are legitimate, but a minority play the system and attempt to use blue badges illegally.
“This results in fewer disabled parking bays being available for those who really need them.
“We are very proud of the work we do on this issue to reduce abuse of the vital service a blue badge provides and I’m pleased to hear that we leading the way in the South West.
“These prosecutions send a clear message to fraudsters that they risk going to court, receiving a criminal record and a fine of up to £1000 if caught.”
Residents can apply for Blue Badges if they have a disability or health condition that affects their mobility.
Parents of a child with a health condition that affects their mobility can also apply for a Blue Badge.
In addition, Blue Badge eligibility has recently been extended to people with hidden disabilities who:
- Cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health and safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
- Cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
- Have very considerable difficulty walking, (both the physical act and the experience of walking)
However, there are strict rules in the use of Blue Badges:
- Never use someone else’s badge, even if you are doing a job or running an errand for them
- Never lend your badge to someone else.
- Never buy a badge in the pub or on the internet.
- Never photocopy a badge or make a fake badge. Even a copy of your own badge is a forgery.
Any instances of suspected Blue Badge abuse should be reported to [email protected] or alternatively call 01225 477133.