Ticket handed out every day in Norwich for drivers parking in blue badge spaces
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Drivers have been warned of the 'critical' impact parking illegally in a blue badge space could have, as figures reveal a driver was fined for doing so more than once a day in Norwich last year.
Norwich City Council figures show that in 2018, 380 penalty charges notices (PCN) were handed out to drivers for parking in disabled spaces without a badge.
It happened 75 times in off-street spaces and 305 in on-street, and came as a slight increase on 2017's figure of 369.
Tom Fadden, chairman of Equal Lives, a Norfolk-based charity which unites people living with disability, said: 'It's always been a problem but, if it isn't already, it will increasingly become more of one because in January the blue badge scheme was extended to include those with hidden disabilities.'
The change means people with hidden disabilities including Crohn's disease, anxiety, autism and chronic pain are now included.
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Mr Fadden said while he welcomed the change, the growing number of blue badges had not been matched by an increase in the number of blue badge parking spaces.
'The more people misusing the existing spaces, the more of a problem it now becomes,' he said.
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'If someone goes shopping or to an appointment and can't park safely in a blue badge space that they need, that might mean they have to go back home.
'They can't go about their day to day life and it stops them from being an active member of the community.'
He said while awareness was an issue, varying levels of enforcement - particularly in privately-run car parks - was also a problem.
But he said a separate concern was attitudes towards those with hidden disabilities.
'Anyone with any kind of disability, visible or hidden, can use the spaces,' he said. 'One common reason I hear for people parking in them is that they were only going to use it for five minutes - but that five minutes may be critical to someone.'
A Norwich City Council spokesperson said some of the tickets may have later been waived, if blue badge holders displayed their badge as part of a challenge against the PCN.
They said people are granted blue badges for a reason and it is vital 'their access to facilities is not compromised by people who do not have these additional needs'.