Disabled Blue Badge Users Targeted by Private Parking Firms in London

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Private Parking Firms masquerading as ‘Transport for London’ (and operating from a ‘PO Box’) are targeting Disabled drivers who possess a ‘Blue Badge’.  A Blue Badge is very difficult to get, and involves an extensive medical declaration from those suffering all kinds of disabilities.  In other words, a Blue Badge is very difficult to get, and is designed to allow Disabled drivers (or Disabled passengers) to park in a vehicle on single or double yellow lines, and loading bays along Red Routes (for more than 20 minutes). The Blue Badge also allows ‘free’parking in many (but not all) Council run car-parks.  It also allows parking on-street Disabled Parking Bays, etc.  A Blue Badge also currently allows similar parking privileges for Disabled drivers (or Disabled passengers) in the EU.  The Blue Badge is displayed in a car window, together with an indication of the arrival time that ALL Traffic Wardens can see.  Disabled drivers, therefore, are exempt from ticket-fines issued by Traffic Wardens, providing the regulations governing Blue Badge usage are followed correctly.  However, Local Councils have been ‘privatising’ Parking Services into the hands of unaccountable operators who assume (but do not possess) the power of legitimate Traffic Wardens working for a Local Council.  Private parking operators do not possess these powers, but try to present the idea that they do to an unassuming general public.  Recently in South London, it has been brought to my attention that Disabled drivers parking in allowed as defined by the Blue Badge they possess, have been receiving parking fines in the post for £120.  The reason for this is that the private parking firms (to save money) have cut the number of Traffic Wardens on patrol, and been given access (by Local Councils) to the CCTV coverage for the areas they operate within.  When a car is legitimately parked with a Blue Badge in a properly designated parking area, the private parking firms use photographs of the car (taken at a distance) – and state that they cannot ‘see’ the Blue Badge.  If you are Disabled and this happens to you, do not panic.  Although it is unjust, and a misuse of power, you have to send a photocopy of the front and back of your Blue Badge to the address on the parking fine letter.  What the private parking firms are doing (with the complicity of Local Council) is violating your rights as British citizens who possess a Disability and a valid Blue Badge.  This is part of the current rightwing attack on Disabled people in the UK, and their hard-earned rights.

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