For Blue Badge Day of Action, May 26 2023, Lambeth coordinated work from local authorities all over England and Wales to target stolen and fraudulently used Blue Badges.
Fraud and other crimes
A Blue Badge helps people with real health needs – including hidden disabilities such as mental health conditions – to park and get on with their daily lives.
But drivers misusing Blue Badges are committing a criminal offence punishable by up to £1000 fine. Stolen or counterfeit blue badge users can also be prosecuted under the Fraud Act 2006, which can lead to up to 12 years’ prison and unlimited fines.
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said:
“Lambeth was the first London borough to really address the issue of blue badge fraud, establishing a dedicated investigation team in 2008. Since then Lambeth Council has prosecuted hundreds of drivers for misusing blue badges, as well as other serious offences such as driving without insurance.
“We have acted because parking fraud and the abuse of parking services costs local authorities significant amounts of money to deal with every year, funding that could be better spent on providing essential services to our residents.
“We have taken a zero tolerance approach and are proactive in tackling the problem. We have specialised in-house training for all of our on-street enforcement officers to help them identify fraudulent or misused blue badges.
“We also conduct our own regular on-street patrols with specially trained officers in plain clothes conducting spot checks on badges being used. Vehicles displaying badges that are being misused are towed away to our vehicle pound.
“This work not only protects parking income, but also the parking needed by our disabled motorists.”
Last year’s first Blue Badge Action Day saw Lambeth work with 19 London boroughs. For 2023, 82 Councils across England took action.
On 2023’s Day of Action, we identified 26 fraudulently used badges in Lambeth, which included 4 stolen badges, 3 lost badges and 4 badges which had been cancelled due to the holder being deceased.
UK-wide action 2023
With the success of last year’s Lambeth-led, London-wide Blue Badge Action Day,
Lambeth invited all participating councils to put police and traffic enforcement officers (no-one else can legally ask to see a Blue Badge) on the streets on the same day this month.
Lambeth will collate all the local figures on how many Blue Badges are inspected, how many are seized, and for which offences – to compare area with area and share good practice.
- Lambeth is recognised as national leader on disabled parking enforcement. We issue more fines for Blue Badge fraud than anywhere else and removed 62 fraudulently used Blue Badges from the borough’s streets last year. See a case study of a Blue Badge prosecution.
- For information on who can legally apply for a Blue Badge for disabled parking, and how to apply and pay, see the UK website.
- For more on disabled parking badges and disabled parking spaces in Lambeth see the Council’s website
- As well as the inconvenience for disabled motorists and passengers, Blue Badge fraud means committing financial crime – falsely claiming congestion charge exemption can save £3,900 per year, falsely claiming a Blue Badge exemption for a resident’s parking permit between £50 – £250 a year and misusing a Blue Badge to cheat on-street parking charges could mean more than £10, 000 lost.
- In 2022’s London-wide Day of Action, 141 officers inspected 18,341 vehicles. Of the 1,899 Blue Badges checked, nearly 95% were legally used by disabled drivers. But over 122 fines were issued and 24 vehicles removed for offences including 55 misused and 47 stolen badges.