New plans to overhaul Blue Badge scheme
* Government to consult on overhaul * Plans to extend scheme's use * Proposals to cut fraud, theft and forgery, too...
The Government has unveiled plans to overhaul the Blue Badge scheme for disabled drivers.
It wants to make the scheme open to more people, but it also wants to crack down on fraud and abuse of the scheme, which is rife.
The consultation document proposes:
• Extending the scheme to help more disabled people - for example, to a greater number of parents who have to carry bulky medical equipment for their children and to people with severe autism;
• Giving parking attendants the power to confiscate on the spot Blue Badges that have been stolen, forged, or used fraudulently (e.g. a family member using the badge to gain a parking space).
• Improving the security of the badge design to prevent forgery;
• Creating a system of national data sharing to help identify Blue Badge fraudsters.
Rosie Winterton, Transport Minister, said: 'We want to extend the scheme's reach to help more people, but the Government is also determined to take action against those who forge, steal or fraudulently use a badge.'
Anne Begg MP, herself a wheelchair user and president of the Blue Badge Network, said: 'The rules were changed in September last year which allowed traffic wardens and the police to inspect badges, but for someone to lose their badge, it's quite a bureaucratic process.'
'Those of us who use Blue Badges want to make sure that they are used correctly.'
The consultation exercise closes on April 17.