Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges Bill passed unanimously

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The Disabled Persons' Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously at decision time on 19 August 2014.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson, who brought the member's bill to the parliament, led the final debate on the bill.

The Blue Badge scheme is for drivers or passengers with severe mobility problems.

The scheme provides a range of on-street parking concessions enabling Blue Badge holders to park closer to where they need to go.

The legislation aims to tackle the misuse of the Blue Badge scheme, there by improving the quality of life for disabled people by freeing up parking spaces for legitimate Blue Badge users.

Badge misuse may take a range of forms.

For example, allowing a friend or family member to use the badge when the disabled person it belongs to is not in the car, tampering with a badge or using a badge that is out of date.

Mr Robertson said during the consultation process people with disabilities themselves believed that taking this bill forward was the right and proper thing to do.

He said the consultation for the bill ensured he listened to people with disabilities throughout Scotland.

The unique number on the Blue Badge will allow police or traffic wardens to check the identity of the badge holder against who is driving the car according the MSP.

The Aberdeenshire West MSP said we need the legislation because people think it is ok to park in disabled parking spaces without a Blue Badge, or allow family members of a person with a disability using a badge.

Denying a disabled person a parking space denies means they have to return home or can not do what they planned, said the MSP, who is blind.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said the intention of the bill would allow non-uniformed officers to enforce the law around abuse of Blue Badges.

There is already a lucrative trade in fake Blue Badges and the bill will mean the police and officers can check the Blue Badge database, said Mr Brown.

He praised Dennis Robertson for his efforts to identify ways to clarify the purpose of the Blue Badge Scheme via the ten top tips for how to use the badge.

The bill is primarily about enforcement of the law, but will also make misuse of a badge socially unacceptable and may prevent people from misusing it said Mr Brown, who adds the government is backing the legislation.

Labour MSP Mark Griffin congratulated Mr Robertson for bringing forward his member's bill.

Mr Griffin said the legislation would play a part in making the "town's and cities more accessible to people with a disability.

He said he looks forward to the bill being passed and making the lives of Blue Badge holders better.

Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan said he was a Blue Badge holder and he gave Mr Robertson's bill his whole hearted support.

Mr Buchanan said the bill strikes the right balance between enforcement of the scheme and the protecting Blue Badge holders and pledged his party's support.

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