A NEW-LOOK Blue Badge will help end misuse of disabled parking spaces.
A wave of reforms announced by the Scottish Government, alongside the Department for Transport, include sophisticated new anti-fraud technologies and better managed records of badge holders.
The moves, being introduced in January, will ensure more access to disabled parking spaces for those who need them most.
Minister for Housing and Transport Keith Brown said: “The Blue Badge scheme is a lifeline for millions of disabled people but for too long, it has been open to abuse and misuse by far too many others.
“This causes real day-to-day problems for those genuine users of the scheme who need the use of disabled spaces but find them taken up, often by vehicles displaying fake or misused badges.
“We want to make sure that these crucially important parking places are used for the purpose for which they were intended – to help severely disabled people retain their independence and live full lives.”
From January, a new Blue Badge design will be introduced which is harder to copy, forge or alter.
A telephone helpline will offer badge holders improved customer service.
And a new national database will allow enforcement officers anywhere in the country to check details of badges and badge holders.
The changes will also see the introduction of automatic entitlement to a Blue Badge for severely disabled service personnel and veterans.
Independent mobility assessments will be introduced later in the year to ensure that those eligible are assessed fairly and consistently across the country.
Anne MacLean, Convener of the Mobility and Access Committee forScotlandsaid:
“We welcome the changes being introduced by the Blue Badge Improvement Service. The Blue Badge is an essential service for disabled people and this package of reforms to help prevent abuse, protect the parking rights of genuine badge holders and provide a more consistent and uniform approach is great news.”