From the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
If you are a UK Blue Badge holder and are under the impression you can almost park anywhere –think again. I have had my badge for some time, rely on my memory and believe I can even park on yellow lines – but have the rules changed?
I was shattered this week to hear of a man with a Blue Badge, unable to find space in a yellow disabled bay, who parked in an empty bay. Although his badge was on display he had a ticket for parking in the wrong place. Sadly I have not heard more details about this but it raises questions – should we look before we park?
If the car park was a fee paying parking area, there is the argument the owners would be losing one parking fee (not an earth shattering amount of money but maybe a matter of principle). If the whole car park is free parking, what difference does it make when you consider the minority of disabled drivers in comparison with the number of able drivers.
I am now re-considering where I could park and could not find my original guidelines. To avoid risking a fine and changes in regulations I might have missed, I wrote to the council where I park. Had there had been changes, had I been lucky? I had already been fined in Bognor for parking over the painted lines and that cost me £25 albeit I had a Blue Badge.
Almost by return I got a reply from an officer of Chichester District Council. She wrote, “ You are able to park in any of the bays in any of the Chichester District Councils pay and display car parks as long as your blue badge is displayed correctly. Every authority has different rules and conditions for their car parks so it’s worth checking before you park in a car park. With regards to Street parking this is all detailed in your blue badge leaflet which you will have received with your blue badge.”
I remember but where the devil is it – that was a long time ago. It is not in the car where it should be? Ah ah – thank heavens for the Internet.
This handy booklet should be downloaded and kept in the car for reference.
This great little mine of information – Blue Badge Rights – Responsibilities which you should also have read when you received your badge. I bet, like me, you do not know where to put your hands on it now. All that aside most importantly it tells you where you can park, places where you need to check first and where you cannot park.
What I had forgotten it also tells you about travelling abroad. You are also reminded the Blue Badge is a concession and not a given right.
It is interesting that permissions are governed by separate rules – private land – and the 3 hour parking rule does not apply everywhere. Did you know incorrect display of the badge may result in a parking fine. The badge should be placed on the dash board or fascia panel of the vehicle. The parking clock must also be visible.
Also police officers and traffic wardens have the power to inspect your badge if they wish. You can be fined up to £1,000 if you refuse.
I found this interesting. Holding a Blue Badge does not in itself mean that you do not have to pay road tax, but you may be exempt if you meet certain set criteria. For more information, pick up the leaflet ‘Exemption from vehicle tax for disabled people’ (V188) from your local DVLA office. See www.gov.uk/dvla-offices for details.
And there is more – back tomorrow with more regulations. Jeanne