Chance to hand in bogus Blue Badges - no questions asked

Anyone with Blue Badges they are not entitled to can hand them in to the council no questions asked in a bid to reduce the amount of wrongly-used ones.

Oxfordshire County Council is introducing a temporary amnesty between February 11 and 22 but has warned there will be tough action against anyone continuing to abuse the scheme.

Blue Badges should never be used by anyone else if the badge holder is not present on the journey. Photo: Oxfordshire County Council

Blue Badges should never be used by anyone else if the badge holder is not present on the journey. Photo: Oxfordshire County Council

Cabinet member for community safety Cllr Judith Heathcoat said: “The Blue Badge Service is a lifeline for many disabled people who cannot travel far from their vehicle.

"However, the system is sometimes sadly abused by a minority, which affects those who rely on it.

"We would like to give the opportunity to people who may be misusing Blue Badges to dispose of them and avoid the risk of prosecution.”

Over 21,000 citizens in Oxfordshire have a Blue Badge issued by the county council, designed to help them remain independent and reduce loneliness.

Last year, 650 Blue Badges were checked and 18 removed, while 2,157 fines were issued to people parked in a disabled bay without a Blue Badge during these enforcement operations.

The badge holder can use it whenever they travel as a driver or a passenger. However, the Blue Badge should never be used by anyone else if the badge holder is not present on the journey.

Cllr Heathcoat added: “Whilst the national performance is mixed, Oxfordshire has a very strong track record of taking Blue Badge enforcement seriously.

“Where the scheme is misused or abused, we will take a strong stance to ensure only those who need, and qualify for a Blue Badge benefit from it.

"If people are misusing or abusing the scheme, the council takes appropriate action to protect genuine badge holders against fraud.

“Misusing a Blue Badge is a serious offence that can result in removal of the badge, a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal record.

"We will not stand for the abuse of this scheme. I would like to remind anyone misusing a Blue Badge that we carry out regular enforcement campaigns.”

The Blue Badges could have expired, belong to another person or no longer be necessary.

Motorists can hand them in at County Hall, or at any library around the county, or send them to: Blue Badge Service, PO Box 873, Oxford, OX1 9NY.

For further information about the Blue Badge scheme, including how to apply online, visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/disabledparking