UK’s Blue Badge offence hotspots revealed


A new study has highlighted which towns and cities recorded the most cases of Blue Badge and disabled parking bay related offences last year, with Milton Keynes topping the charts outside London.

Almost 6,000 penalty charge notices were issued to drivers in the Buckinghamshire town for misuse of permits – including displaying an invalid, stolen or unauthorised badge – or incorrectly parking in a disabled bay.

Latest Government figures show there were some 2.5million Blue Badge holders in England alone last year, with figures rising as a result of rule changes introduced in 2019.

That change – the biggest to the scheme since it launched in 1970 – allows those with hidden disabilities such as mental health conditions, dementia and Crohn’s Disease to apply for permits. It means Blue Badge demand and enforcement issues are at an all-time high.

Uswitch says these are the hotspots for Blue Badge-related offences, including permit misuse – including displaying an invalid, stolen or unauthorised badge – or incorrectly parking in a disabled bay

Figures provided by local authorities show that Milton Keynes was the council that administered the most fines – 5,962 in total – for Blue Badge-related offences in 2020.

Manchester follows closely behind with 5,799 PCNs issued to drivers, while Leeds ranks in third place with 4,573 fines for permit misuse or wrongful parking in designated bays, according to Uswitch.

While Milton Keynes had sent out the most fines per council, the capital remains a hotbed for this type of offence.

The London borough with by far the highest number of PCNs is Barking and Dagenham with 3,714 sent to motorists in 2020.  

The five boroughs issuing the most Blue Badge-related fines in total last year (including Lambeth, Barnet, Redbridge and Haringey) administered more than 16,000 fines, the records show.

Figures provided by local authorities show that Milton Keynes was the council that administered the most fines - 5,962 in total - for Blue Badge-related offences in 2020

Figures provided by local authorities show that Milton Keynes was the council that administered the most fines – 5,962 in total – for Blue Badge-related offences in 2020

Uswitch collated the data following a Freedom of Information request to all authorities, with 205 councils responding with figures on Blue Badge offences. 

In total, some 174,445 fines for Blue Badge-related offences were handed out by the councils that responded to the request for information. 

Changes to Blue Badge rules in August 2019 

Changes to the Blue Badge scheme introduced almost two years means those with hidden disabilities such as mental health conditions, dementia and Crohn’s Disease can apply for permits to park in disabled parking spaces.

Experts estimate there are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum, approximately 850,000 with dementia and roughly three million with anxiety disorders – all of whom could potentially receive a permit. 

But while the broadening of eligibility means millions more drivers can apply for the scheme, allocations of the permits rose by 150 between 2019 (2,294) and 2020 (2,444).

This is likely due to the lack of available spaces, with a report from Confused.com in 2019 suggesting there is just one council-operated disabled parking bay per 30 Blue Badge holders. 

Blue Badges are administered by local authorities.

Applicants should contact their local council directly to find out more about the administration of the scheme in their area and to obtain a copy of the application form.

Alternatively, you can apply on the government website.

Blue Badges are free in Wales, while successful applicants have to pay £10 in England and £20 in Scotland.

The majority of penalties were likely for drivers without permits who wrongfully parked in disabled bays. 

Fine amounts for such misdemeanors tend to be determined by each council and can range from £40 to £80 – though with discounts if motorists pay within two weeks of receiving the penalty notice.  

Official records show that in 2020 there were 2.44million Blue Badge holders in England alone.

Latest figures suggest that around 1,500 prosecutions for Blue Badge misuse occur each year in Britain. 

If caught fraudulently displaying an out of date badge or one belonging to another person, motorists run the risk of a £1,000 fine and confiscation of a permit if it is still valid but repeatedly being misused. 

However, not all councils have a policy to prosecute those who abuse the system by using another person’s valid permit.  

Joel Kempson, car insurance expert at Uswitch.com, commented on the study, saying: ‘Drivers who abuse the Blue Badge policy could face a fine of up to £1,000. Yet despite the risk of hefty penalties, it’s clear the law is disregarded by many motorists risking large fines to park for free or closer to their destination.’

He added: ‘If you are disabled, it is important to state this in your car insurance application, as failing to inform your insurance provider could result in your cover becoming invalidated. 

‘We also recommend speaking to your insurance provider to ensure your plan adequately covers your specific needs.’

Uswitch has exclusively provided This is Money with the full list of councils and how many Blue Badge-related offences occurred in 2020.

We’ve listed the responding councils in alphabetical order so you can see how many PCNs were issued to motorists where you live last year. 

If you are reading this article on the MailOnline app and cannot see the table below, click this link to be taken to our website where you can view the standings in full. 

BLUE BADGE-RELATED FINES PCNS ISSUED BY COUNCILS IN 2020 
Council Blue Badge PCNs issued (2020) Rank (1-205)
Aberdeen 610 98
Adur 189 168
Antrim and Newtownabbey 128 183
Ards and North Down 859 76
Argyll and Bute 155 176
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon 608 99
Arun 526 112
Ashford 256 154
Barnsley 583 105
Basingstoke and Deane 584 104
Bath and North East Somerset 636 92
Bedford 942 66
Belfast 948 64
Birmingham 4,069 4
Blackpool 555 110
Bolton 1,346 38
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 3,052 8
Bracknell Forest 101 186
Bradford 3,109 7
Braintree 357 135
Breckland 186 170
Bridgend 343 141
Brighton and Hove 2,694 9
Bristol 1,807 21
Bromsgrove 287 147
Broxbourne 1,253 44
Buckinghamshire 2,443 11
Caerphilly 477 120
Calderdale 1,027 55
Cambridgeshire 1,122 50
Canterbury 1,120 51
Cardiff 2,613 10
Ceredigion 281 148
Chelmsford 1,974 18
Cheshire East 904 69
Cheshire West and Chester 1,777 22
Chesterfield 192 167
Chorley 28 200
Colchester 3,879 5
Conwy 352 138
Cornwall 983 60
County Durham 1,841 19
Coventry 1,837 20
Crawley 985 58
Cumbria 1,608 29
Dacorum 347 140
Darlington 885 71
Dartford 320 143
Denbighshire 2,015 15
Derby 1,179 48
Derbyshire 441 124
Doncaster 903 70
Dorset 1,550 30
Dover 120 184
Dudley 815 77
Dundee 1,285 42
East Ayrshire 249 157
East Dunbartonshire 240 159
East Hampshire 135 180
East Hertfordshire 621 96
East Lothian 354 137
East Riding of Yorkshire 935 68
East Suffolk 433 126
East Sussex 1,376 34
Eastleigh 481 119
Elmbridge 1,417 33
Epsom and Ewell 198 165
Falkirk 984 59
Fareham 174 172
Fenland 1 205
Fermanagh and Omagh 357 135
Fife 1,086 52
Flintshire 100 187
Folkestone & Hythe 485 117
Forest of Dean 310 144
Gateshead 745 84
Glasgow 1,717 27
Gloucestershire 862 74
Gravesham 751 83
Guildford 644 89
Gwynedd 188 169
Hart 255 155
Hartlepool 171 173
Havant 441 124
Herefordshire 1,025 56
Hertsmere 200 163
Highland 644 89
Horsham 258 152
Huntingdonshire 135 180
Inverclyde 234 160
Ipswich 806 78
Isle of Anglesey 25 201
Isle of Wight 141 179
Kingston upon Hull 487 116
Kirklees 1,762 24
Leeds 4,573 3
Leicester 1,775 23
Leicestershire 2,204 14
Lisburn and Castlereagh 148 177
Luton 1,753 25
Maidstone 1,994 16
Malvern Hills 100 187
Manchester 5,799 2
Medway 1,362 37
Merthyr Tydfil 76 192
Mid and East Antrim 432 127
Mid Sussex 359 134
Mid Ulster 965 62
Middlesbrough 198 165
Midlothian 567 109
Milton Keynes 5,962 1
Mole Valley 167 174
Monmouthshire 144 178
New Forest 179 171
Newcastle upon Tyne 1,371 35
Newport 1,189 47
Newry, Mourne and Down 599 101
North East Lincolnshire 349 139
North Hertfordshire 878 72
North Lincolnshire 643 91
North Somerset 599 101
North Tyneside 710 86
North West Leicestershire 200 163
Northamptonshire 3,259 6
Northumberland 627 95
Oldham 1,259 43
Oxford 16 204
Pembrokeshire 414 129
Perth and Kinross 703 87
Peterborough 971 61
Plymouth 277 150
Portsmouth 938 67
Powys 454 122
Redcar and Cleveland 132 182
Redditch 98 189
Reigate and Banstead 65 193
Renfrewshire 204 162
Rhondda Cynon Taf 1,069 53
Rochdale 1,738 26
Rotherham 790 80
Runnymede 87 191
Rushmoor 245 158
Rutland 58 195
Salford 586 103
Sandwell 1,337 39
Scarborough 1,050 54
Sefton 635 93
Sevenoaks 96 190
Sheffield 805 79
Shropshire 1,363 36
Slough 2,246 13
Solihull 1,200 46
Somerset 660 88
South Ayrshire 409 131
South Gloucestershire 329 142
South Kesteven 64 194
South Lanarkshire 779 82
South Oxfordshire 20 202
South Tyneside 525 113
Southampton 2,424 12
Southend-on-Sea 635 93
Spelthorne 251 156
St Albans 502 115
St Helens 956 63
Stirling 482 118
Stoke-on-Trent 1,521 32
Sunderland 743 85
Swale 1,125 49
Swansea 1,534 31
Swindon 782 81
Tameside 568 108
Tandridge 58 195
Telford and Wrekin 295 146
Test Valley 257 153
Thanet 259 151
Three Rivers 49 197
Thurrock 410 130
Tonbridge and Malling 281 148
Torbay 607 100
Torridge 32 199
Trafford 947 65
Tunbridge Wells 400 132
Vale of Glamorgan 157 175
Vale of White Horse 20 202
Wakefield 581 106
Walsall 1,988 17
Warrington 870 73
Warwickshire 1,641 28
Watford 382 133
Wealden 119 185
Welwyn Hatfield 421 128
West Lindsey 43 198
West Oxfordshire 514 114
West Suffolk 470 121
Wigan 621 96
Wiltshire 1,297 41
Windsor and Maidenhead 862 74
Wirral 1,206 45
Woking 1,019 57
Wokingham 1,333 40
Worcester 569 107
Worthing 539 111
Wrexham 205 161
Wychavon 448 123
Wyre Forest 306 145
Source: Uswitch FOI request to all UK councils     

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