Saturday, 2 October 2010

Waltham Forest is a paradise for blue badge fraudsters

Number of blue badge fraudsters caught by the Council in Waltham Forest in 2009: nil.

Number of blue badge fraudsters caught by PCSOs and police in Waltham Forest in 2009: nil.

Even though blue badge misuse is plainly at epidemic levels locally, none of the authorities which could crack down on this abuse is at all interested. Not that the problem is exclusively local:

More than half of disabled parking badges are being used fraudulently in some parts of the country, officials have warned.

Thousands of motorists are abusing the blue badges to dodge parking fees and get bays close to the entrance of supermarkets, shopping centres and stations.

The National Fraud Authority estimates the abuse costs taxpayers £14.7 million per year but this is likely to be an underestimate as detection and prosecution rates are low.

The numbers of badges being issued has soared in recent years.

Not all London councils are as useless as Waltham Forest however:

Since we have been targeting those drivers who abuse blue badges, in Wandsworth alone we have successfully prosecuted 360 motorists for 1,388 offences.’

This has brought just under £428,000 in fines and costs into the public purse.

And Hampshire County Council

is proposing to charge for blue badge spaces at country parks from February 2011 onwards

I fail to see why anyone who can afford to run a car should be exempt from any charge, and it’s laughable that people in CPZs are allowed to park free if they display a blue badge. Many of the vehicles displaying such badges are expensive 4X4s.

But don’t expect to see a crap council like Waltham Forest to address this problem.