The Ministry of Equality together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning wish to advise the general public that there will be an increase in the fixed penalty, from £100 to £500, for parking in an Accessible Parking Bay without holding or clearly displaying a Blue Badge. The changes arise as a result of a review of reported misuse of accessible parking bays.
With effect as from next Thursday 29th November, any person who parks a motor vehicle without holding a Blue Badge in an accessible parking bay will be liable to a fine of £500. In the event that the matter proceeds to the Magistrates Court, any person who commits this offence may be liable on conviction to a fine at level 3 (up to £1,000).
The purpose of this amendment is to counteract the improper use of the accessible parking spaces. Too many drivers without blue badges park illegally or use accessible parking bays as a drop on drop off for people or goods or use it as a waiting zone. Motorcycles or obstructions are regularly found to be parked on the hatch lines adjacent to the parking, therefore obstructing passage to the vehicle parked there. All of these examples are to the detriment of Blue Badge holders, who are people with a disability, and who are in need of clear access to these spaces.
An information video has been launched ahead of the changes to the legislation.
A statement continued: “The Blue Badge Scheme is under review. This is the first announcement as a result of the said review. The Government has been in consultation with the Disability Society on this issue, following representations made by them to the Ministry of Equality. Further changes on the Blue Badge Scheme are to be announced.”
Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento, said “It has become evident that there has been an increase in the misuse of accessible parking bays. It is extremely unfair for someone with a disability who would need to make use of a parking bay and not be able to use it, because it was been occupied by someone who does not actually have a Blue Badge. To this end we have increased the penalty to reflect the seriousness of this breach and are raising awareness of the implications of doing so. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved in this project”.
Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Paul Balban, said: “I am pleased to see the implementation of this measure in an attempt to reduce the level of inconsiderate drivers, to the advantage of people who are eligible to use accessible parking. Further announcements on the Blue Badge scheme are due to be made shortly to further enhance accessibility to Blue Badge holders.”
Debbie Borastero, Chairperson of the Disability Society said “The Disability Society welcomes any changes to the accessible parking system that discourages the illegal use of the blue badge parking bays. We hope that the production of this information video will highlight the correct use of the bays and the issues that can be caused by inconsiderate parking in and around accessible bays.”