North Yorkshire County Council is bringing in changes to improve the blue badge scheme from January.
Eligibility for the scheme, which entitles disabled people with mobility problems to park free of charge in on-street spaces, was extended last May for families with children under two with specific medical conditions to families with children under three with such conditions. The scheme was also adapted for war veterans, so they now only have to apply once for a blue badge rather than the usual every three years.
However, further changes will be introduced in January 2012. The county council has had to buy into a national scheme for the redesign and distribution of the badge in order to make the service more resistant to fraud, which currently costs the country an estimated £46m every year. The application process will also be speeded up.
In order to bring about these improvements the county council, in line with neighbouring authorities, will increase the fee for blue badge applications and renewals from the current £2 to £10. This is the first increase in almost 30 years.
Organisations which regularly transport disabled people will continue to be eligible for the scheme provided more than half of their clients meet the blue badge criteria.
County Councillor Carl Les, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for the Chief Executive’s Group said:
We believe these changes will lead to significant improvements for blue badge holders and cut down on fraudulent use of the scheme. We acknowledge that people will be paying more but they will benefit from a far more effective and efficient process.
Further information about the blue badge scheme can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/parkingpermits