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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 July 2006, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
City counts cost of parking abuse
Disabled parking
Able-bodied drivers are taking advantage of priority parking
Abuse of disabled parking bays in Edinburgh could be costing more than 12,000 in lost revenue each year, according to the council.

Parking fraud prevention officer Gordon Catchlove said fraudulent use of "blue badge" permits was out of control.

He said the majority of offenders were family or friends of people who legitimately owned a permit.

The Scottish Executive has been studying the extent of the abuse, with a report due at the end of the year.

Mr Catchlove, the only parking fraud prevention officer in Scotland, said calculating the cost of fraud was difficult.

However, the council had made an estimation based on three parking zones in Edinburgh.

He said: "If you put one vehicle every day on a five-day working week in a public pay and display bay in each of these three areas, you're looking at nearly 12,000 a year being defrauded by people using a blue badge and not paying for that parking."

Counterfeit badges

Mr Catchlove said there was also a small number of people using counterfeit blue badges so that they could use preferential car parking spaces.

He added: "Many people will tell you, particularly in the parking industry, that the blue badge scheme is out of control.

"There are too many on the streets, the access is too easy and the assessment process is believed to be too easy."

The problem has also been reflected in other parts of the country with research in Glasgow showing that in one street 70% of those cars displaying a blue badge were unlawfully parked.

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