a blue wheelchair sticker on a van
Credit: Envato Elements

Story by Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

“WIDESPREAD misuse” of Blue Badges is concerning the Welsh Government and there is also a rumored black-market trade in the disabled parking permits. 

The government has written to councils due to its concerns about improper use of the permits which are supplied free in Wales but cost £10 in England and £20 in Scotland. 

Members of Torfaen Borough Council’s cleaner communities scrutiny committee were updated on parking enforcement at their March meeting when they were told of the government’s concerns. 

The council’s team leader for highways, traffic and enforcement Gavin Newman said: “I’ve received an email from the Welsh Government about Blue Badge enforcement. Apparently there is some quite widespread misuse of Blue Badges in Wales and they will be rolling out some workshops on what we as local authorities can do about that misuse.” 

Mr Newman said the council would be attending one of the workshops. 

Abersychan Labour councillor Lynda Clarkson said she welcomed that action was being taken and said: “The Blue Badges are for sale apparently.” 

Committee chairman, Llanyrafon Labour member David Williams, said: “I believe there is a trade in them.” 

Cllr Clarkson had asked how the council is enforcing misuse of disabled parking spaces. She said: “It is forcing people who’ve got genuine disabilities to use their Blue Badges where there is restricted parking and some have said they’ve had tickets for this.” 

The council’s four parking enforcement officers issue penalty charge notices if they spot vehicles parked in disabled bays and spaces if they aren’t correctly displaying a Blue Badge, said Mr Newman. 

He added: “They will try and speak with Blue Badge holders if they are in an area they shouldn’t be, or are not permitted to use that area, they will speak to the Blue Badge holders if they see them and refer them to the Welsh Government guide on usage.”