Release date: 28 August 2020
Blue Badge parking permit holders are being urged to check their badges’ expiry dates and, if these are approaching or already expired, apply for a renewal as soon as possible.
Blue Badges enable disabled people with visible and non-visible ('hidden') disabilities to access goods and services, by allowing them to park close to their destination.
Following the start of the COVID-19 crisis and Government advice, the county council advised permit holders of a relaxation to the rules: that district and borough councils in West Sussex should not issue penalty charges for using badges with an expiry date from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
This relaxation will end on 30 September 2020 and anyone using an out-of-date badge after this date may receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) or other enforcement action.
A spokesperson for the Blue Badge scheme said: “Anyone who has not already renewed their badge is urged to do so as soon as possible to allow time to process the application.
“Please go to www.westsussex.gov.uk/bluebadge for information on how to apply. As we have limited capacity for dealing with post, we would be grateful if applicants apply online, if they can. However, if this is not an option, those renewing are advised to get in touch by calling 01243 777653.”
- West Sussex County Council takes the misuse of Blue Badges seriously because it is not only fraud, but it can mean that genuine, vulnerable users are deprived of accessing vital services because parking spaces are taken by fraudsters. This could include spaces near doctors’ surgeries, chemists or other community facilities. Trying to deceive others that you are entitled to the benefits afforded to Blue Badge holders also costs the public purse.
- There are currently 38,000 Blue Badges on issue in West Sussex. We find that most of the time Blue Badges are being used correctly, but the National Audit Office estimates misuse is as high as 20%. It is very important that we check for misuse so that both genuine users are not disadvantaged and tax payers do not lose out to fraudsters.
- Since August 2017, county council officers have been working in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council and colleagues at all seven local district and borough councils to clampdown on Blue Badge misuse. Officers, working with Sussex Police, have also issued a number of official warnings, called Community Resolutions.