Wokingham Borough Council Announce Changes to Blue Badge Parking Scheme0
As of January 1, 2011 the Government will be introducing changes to the blue badge scheme.
The blue badge scheme enables people with severe mobility problems to park close to where they need to go. The parking scheme is being reformed to reduce fraud and make it easier for blue badge holders to park in designated areas.
A more secure blue badge will be issued to new applicants and those who renew their parking badges. New security features such as holograms, barcode and a digital photograph will be introduced and the badges will be printed in a secure environment using special inks and processes. As the new badge will be harder to forge, less people will be misusing the parking scheme making it easier for genuine blue badge holders to park.
A central database of all blue badges on issue will be created to enable verification checks to be made quickly and easily and local authorities will have more powers to tackle fraudulent use of blue badges including the power to cancel badges and to confiscate them on the spot.
The new badge will be more expensive to produce due to its enhanced security features. Moreover, the cost of administration of the new badge will also increase. Therefore, from January 2012, Wokingham Borough Council will charge £10 for a new or renewed blue badge. This is the first increase since 1983. The increased fee will cover only some of the costs associated with the management and distribution of blue badges and Wokingham Borough Council will continue to cover all other costs.
This one-off fee of £10 will cover the three year period for which the blue badge is valid. The fee will cover costs for the badge itself, the parking clock, the information leaflet, postage and contribute to administration costs. It will also help with improvements to the service, such as mobility assessments and reducing fraudulent use of badges.
Stuart Rowbotham, strategic director for commissioning, said: “The new blue badge scheme will be accessible, secure, fair and affordable and residents with mobility difficulties will be able to move around the borough more easily and therefore sustain their independence.”
Residents will also be able to check eligibility and apply for new blue badges online. An application form and online payment system will be available at: www.direct.gov.uk although people will still have the opportunity to apply directly to the borough council for a blue badge.