Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 14:30 UK

Bid to fine disabled bay abusers

disabled parking bay
There are more than 220,000 blue badge holders in Scotland

Proposals which could see drivers fined for wrongly parking in disabled bays have been formally introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie hopes her Member's Bill will benefit thousands of disabled blue badge holders.

If it is backed by Holyrood, the bill would see anyone using a disabled parking place without a blue badge fined up to 60.

At present, fines can only be enforced in about 15% of disabled bays.

It is estimated there are one million disabled people in Scotland, including 96,000 wheelchair users and 223,995 blue badge holders.

Ms Baillie's bill would make the existing disabled parking bays which are under the control of local councils legally enforceable.

Almost 85% of such bays are currently advisory, which means other motorists can park in them without any punishment.

If passed these proposals will, virtually overnight, improve the quality of life for all blue badge holders
Jackie Baillie MSP

The bill would introduce a fine of 30 for those who abuse the bays, which would then rise to 60 if not paid within 14 days.

The proposals would also require councils to work with the owners and operators of private car parks - such as supermarkets and out of town shopping centres - to negotiate an agreement to make disabled parking places in these car parks enforceable.

Local authorities would have to report to ministers every year on the enforcement of disabled parking bays in their area.

The bill has the backing of disability groups and the local authority group Cosla, as well as Labour leader Wendy Alexander and Morag Alexander, the Scotland Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Dumbarton MSP Ms Baillie urged the Scottish Government to support her proposals, which she hopes could be passed by the end of this year.

She said: "I hope the Scottish Government will join up with the overwhelming majority of people who support this bill.

"If passed these proposals will, virtually overnight, improve the quality of life for all blue badge holders.

"They would also be a hallmark for the type of country Scotland wants to be - thoughtful of others and caring for people with a disability.

"It is too often the case that disabled drivers are unable to find parking facilities either outside their own home or in their local high street to access essential services."

'Inconsiderate people'

Dr Ann Wilson, the convener of Inclusion Scotland, welcomed the proposals.

She said: "Disabled people not only find that inconsiderate people ignore designated bays in shopping centres but they also prevent people from getting back into their own homes by parking in domestic bays."

Liz Rowlett, of the Scottish Disability Equality Forum, said: "The current situation whereby disabled people are often prevented from carrying out day-to-day activities as a result of the abuse of designated spaces is unacceptable."

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "We're currently considering the final version of this Bill and will reach a conclusion on our views on it in due course.

"At present, disabled parking bays can either be advisable or enforceable. Legislation does exist and contains sufficient power to enable roads authorities to make special provision for parking for disabled people."


SEE ALSO
Bill to tackle parking bay abuse
21 Nov 06 |  Scotland

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