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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
New rules for Blue Badge holders
By Geoff Adams-Spink
Age & disability correspondent, BBC News website

Photo of the new style Blue Badge
The hologram will make the new badges harder to copy
The government has announced measures to prevent people abusing disabled parking badges.

The Department for Transport is also to make Blue Badges available to very young severely disabled children and people with upper limb disabilities.

The changes will come into force next month and include a hologram to make the badges harder to copy.

Campaigners have welcomed the news but say that more needs to be done to make the scheme work properly.

We also need a central database of stolen and fraudulent badges so that they can be logged on a computer system and readily identified
Douglas Campbell,
Mobilise

Children under two whose parents also need to transport bulky medical equipment with them - for example oxygen cylinders - have now been brought into the scheme.

People with disabilities in both arms and who do not drive adapted cars will now be entitled to a Blue Badge because many of them have difficulty using parking meters and automatic barriers in car parks.

"These changes will ensure that the scheme continues to help those disabled people who need the Blue Badge concession most," said transport minister, Rosie Winterton.

The Department for Transport has also announced a review of the Blue Badge scheme which will report back in the spring of 2008.

Temporary disabilities

Among other issues, the review will consider whether people with temporary disabilities should be eligible for a badge.

In addition to the hologram new Blue Badges will include a serial number that identifies the gender of the holder as a further measure against misuse.

Welcoming the announcement, Douglas Campbell - the chairman of the disabled motorists' organisation, Mobilise - said that any measures to improve security and to prevent fraud were a step in the right direction.

"Introducing the badge for the most severely disabled young children is also a welcome move," he said.

But he added that more work needed to be done to ensure that only those disabled people who met the criteria were issued with badges.

Local authority staff also needed better training on how the scheme should be run so that it could be enforced effectively, according to Mobilise.

"We also need a central database of stolen and fraudulent badges so that they can be logged on a computer system and readily identified."




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