03 Sep 62 Blue Badge holders in Essex battle for one parking space, study reveals
New data shows there are 62 Blue Badge holders in the East of England battling for one dedicated council-owned parking space, on average.
However, Cambridgeshire faces a battle, as data shows there are 140 Blue Badge holders to one council-owned parking space, on average. And with more people eligible for Blue Badges under the new criteria, this shortage is only likely to worsen. Under the scheme, drivers with hidden disabilities in England will be eligible for a Blue Badge.
Councils in Wales and Scotland have been working to this criteria for a number of years.
Dedicated Blue Badge parking spaces are available for badge holders, as they’re often located closer to entrances or offer more room to get in and out of the car.
However, new data obtained by Confused.com found that many drivers are abusing this luxury. Last year, more than 13,000 parking charge notices (PCN) were issued to drivers in the East of England for wrongly parking in a Blue Badge parking space – with drivers in Cambridgeshire receiving more than 3000 of those issued.1).
A battle for Blue badge parking spaces is widespread across the UK, as on average there are 30 blue badge holders to once council-owned parking space. This shortage is made even worse by non-blue badge drivers abusing the use of these spaces. In fact, 156,000 fines were issues to drivers for misusing spaces in just one year.
Overall, the expansion of the scheme has been well received by drivers, with almost half (48%) seeing it as a positive move. But it has also raised a lot of confusion among drivers, with one in five (20%) questioning what will happen to the number of Blue Badge parking spaces following the expansion of the scheme.
To answer this question, Confused.com asked councils if they intend to expand Blue Badge parking provisions, with 74% claiming they don’t have any current plans in place(3). However, drivers think councils should be doing more, with almost one in three (30%) calling for councils to extend the number of bays for Blue Badge holders following the increase in applications.
Currently, almost one in four (24%) drivers who are or travel with a Blue Badge holder are concerned they won’t be able to access spaces due to the expansion of the scheme.
It’s not just the parking crisis that baffles drivers, as almost a quarter (23%) find the change in criteria for English drivers confusing. A further one in three (30%) are also confused about which medical conditions would be eligible. To help make it clearer for people, Confused.com has compiled the criteria in a guide to applying for a Blue Badge. The government has updated the eligibility criteria to offer clear and consistent guidelines for councils.
Misusing Blue badge spaces is an issue that is widespread across the UK, as almost two million UK drivers(5) admit they’ve misused a Blue Badge parking space. And their reasoning was mostly for their own convenience than for a genuine need for the space:
Top reasons drivers have wrongly used a Blue Badge parking space:
· I was only going to be quick (36%)
· There were plenty of Blue Badge spaces available (28%)
· I couldn’t find another space (24%)