Drivers who abuse disabled drivers’ parking bays have come one step closer to being penalised with the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee giving its initial approval to a Members’ Bill from Jackie Baillie MSP at Stage 1.
The Disabled Persons’ Parking Places (Scotland) Bill aims to make all disabled parking places enforceable – including those in supermarkets – with fines of up to £60 for those who breach the ban. Currently, most disabled parking places across Scotland are courtesy spaces where non-Blue Badge holders can park without fear of penalty.
While the committee largely approved the Bill it did make recommendations on both the timescale and costs of implementation.
Committee Convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: “We believe that a year after the Act comes into force is adequate time for local authorities to complete an audit of disabled parking bays and the Minister should only sanction an extension in exceptional circumstances.
"The committee also agrees that the estimate of £1.7 million for promotion and implementation is subject to a degree of doubt. However, if the Bill is passed we would expect the Scottish Government and COSLA to negotiate the implementation costs so that local authorities are not unduly burdened.
"Though the operation of the Blue Badge scheme is not within the purposes of this Bill, we were alarmed by the reported levels of fraud involving the scheme and recommend the abuse of this UK-wide scheme is addressed in Scotland . On a positive note, the committee was impressed by the can-do attitude of the supermarket ASDA in enforcing parking places and believe this good practice should be adopted elsewhere.”
The Disabled Persons’ Parking Places (Scotland) Bill was introduced as a Member’s Bill by Jackie Baillie MSP on Monday 2 June 2008. The Local Government Committee was designated lead committee in consideration of the Bill at Stage 1.