‘Blue Badge laxity is handicapping system’ claim after Hertfordshire figures are revealed

The Blue Badge system is designed to help disabled drivers

The Blue Badge system is designed to help disabled drivers - Credit: Archant

Blue Badges which offer designated parking for disabled people are being handed out too readily, according to a Hitchin man who has dug out facts and figures on the scheme after his relatives were finding it a regular struggle to find a space.

Kalvis Jansons has accused Herts County Council – which issues the badges – of applying the criteria in a ‘too casual manner’ after examining for figures supplied after a Freedom of Information Act request.

The permits should only be issued to people with permanent and substantial disabilities affecting mobility, or who have problems with their arms which make it difficult to operate parking meters.

But Kalvis said: “I came across somebody in their 80s who, after having a heart attack, applied for a Blue Badge and got one.

“Quite quickly, he recovered and was quite happy to walk a mile.

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“He informed County Hall but they turned a blind eye to it.”

According to the official figures, in the 12 months to April 8 this year, 8,015 people in Herts aged over 75 were given a Blue Badge, from 9,030 applications.

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Kalvis said: “Most people over 75 who apply get a badge. I am a little disturbed by that.

“The system is being applied in too casual a manner. I want it to work in the best and most effective way.

“There are not that many spaces and I have relatives who are genuinely disabled who can’t find a space and have to go away without their shopping.

“There are a lot of people over 75 who are actually very fit – being able to walk a mile is not someone with a severe disability.

“My main concern is that the system should benefit the people who are genuinely disabled.”

County Hall said: “We have a very stringent checking and assessment procedure based on national guidance.

“A judgement will be made based on a variety of factors including required medication, breathing difficulties, how they are able to walk, when their condition was diagnosed and any equipment they may use.

“Some applications will need further assessment, which could mean a face-to-face interview or requesting compelling medical information provided by a GP.

“To make sure badges are used appropriately by those entitled, we act on feedback from the public and also work with parking enforcement colleagues in district and borough councils.”

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