'Disappointing and frustrating' - 2,000 fines in a year for illegal parking in disabled spaces
PUBLISHED: 12:04 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:04 14 February 2020
Nearly 2,000 people were fined last year for parking in spaces reserved for people with disabilities without having a blue badge permit.
Just under £40,000 was charged to drivers in the Norfolk area alone.
In Norfolk and Waveney, 1,984 people were caught out parking in on-street disabled bays, which are reserved so those with disabilities can park closer to their destination as a passenger or driver.
"It is both disappointing and frustrating that people think this kind of behaviour is acceptable," said councillor Norman Brooks, Waveney's cabinet member for transport.
"Of course, you would like to hope that drivers with no disability would have the decency to keep such spaces clear for those who need them."
READ MORE: Ticket handed out every day in Norwich for drivers parking in blue badge spaces
Over the last year, Norfolk County Council received £39,578.66 from 1,221 penalty charge notices issued to those who parked in the bays without displaying a blue badge. However the figures do not include the Norwich area.
In Waveney, East Suffolk Council (ESC) hit 763 drivers with the notices for the offence.
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However, ESC do not store information on the total amount received from those who park in disabled parking bays.
James Taylor, head of policy and campaigns at disability equality charity Scope, said: "Blue badges are an important means for disabled people to be able to live independently. It is good to see councils cracking down on abuse and misuse of the system.
"Many disabled people, including those with invisible impairments, are unable to use shops and amenities unless they can park within a short distance.
"Every time someone dishonestly uses a blue badge space, even for a few minutes, they risk depriving someone who genuinely needs it."
Mr Brooks added: "All off-street parking places managed by East Suffolk Council are patrolled and the rules enforced where necessary.
"Shortly, as we assume responsibility for on street parking, we will also patrol designated bays for Blue Badge holders and again, enforcement action will be taken if vehicles are improperly parked.
"If they are caught, they will be fined."
READ MORE: U-turn as city centre disabled parking bays are saved
Drivers caught parking without a blue badge are charged £50 in Waveney if the fine is paid within 14 days, however the fine reaches £80 if paid later.
If the fine follows court proceedings, drivers are fined £170, including £90 court costs.