Disability blue badge changes

PUBLISHED: 10:35 02 June 2014

I am a disability researcher and routinely write briefings for members of the House of Lords.

Cambridgeshire County Council decided to stop sending out the reminders for people who routinely use the blue badge for access to disabled parking.

This was undertaken without consultation and without notification yet the website advises that it can take up to 6 weeks to re-issue a blue badge and that is for those people who qualify under the ‘automatic criteria’.

Following a telecom, I have discovered that there is a presumption by CCC that disabled drivers will check the date on the blue badge for every journey – more evidence of able bodied officials making decisions about areas they fail to comprehend?

In reality, disabled drivers routinely change the time on the parking clock & don’t routinely check the date on the badge as, until now, we have always benefitted from timely reminders to reapply for the badge that lasts for three years.

As a consequence of this total failure to advise disabled people of this important change, I have only just noticed that my blue badge ran out last weekend and I am now, effectively, housebound until such times as a new badge is allocated.

This is unacceptable and will have implications for many other disabled people in the County.

The presumption for the online application that everyone has access to a digital camera to provide the necessary online photograph for the badge application is absurd, although I do appreciate this is yet another failed government initiative where disabled people are concerned, and not a decision by CCC.

The alternative paper based method of badge application, that requires access to the GP for signature, is totally unworkable given that GP surgeries are now overloaded with patients waiting up to 6 weeks to access a doctor.

If the CCC were planning to make such an important change, to arbitrarily stop sending out reminders to renew the blue badge, then the very least that should have been done was mass communication via a large notice in all local press and in all local news outlets.

MO STEWART

Via Email

Reply from Cambridgeshire County Council

We have investigated this case and have contacted the resident directly as a genuine error has occurred that we can only apologise for.

In 2012 it was decided not to send out some reminders to blue badge holders who received their badge under discretionary criteria.

The documentation which accompanies a new badge advises holders that they are responsible for renewing their badge before it expires.

However, in this case the resident, who does not fall into this discretionary criteria, should have received an automatic reminder.

We have contacted them to apologise for the mistake and will be fast tracking their application, to ensure that any inconvenience is minimised.

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