People in Calderdale, who have a blue badge which has expired or is no longer valid, are being given the opportunity to hand in their badge without facing penalty.
From Monday, February until Friday 4 March, Calderdale Council is hosting a blue badge amnesty, where people can hand in invalid blue badges to any Customer First office, with no questions asked or further action taken.
The blue badge scheme is for people with severe mobility problems. The misuse of the scheme is a problem all across the UK and has been highlighted as one of the areas of fraud that is on the increase.
Recently, the council held a blue badge action day, to crack down on blue badge abuse in Calderdale.
During this action day, four cases of blue badge misuse were discovered in Halifax town centre. One of these cases was found to still be using the badge of a deceased person, whilst the other three were being used whilst the badge holder was at home.
Following this day of action, the Council is now holding an amnesty for badges, so anyone who currently has a blue badge that they’re not entitled to use, can hand it in. Blue badges should be returned to the Council if:
· The badge expires
· The badge holder is no longer eligible
· It is a replacement badge for one that is lost or stolen and the original is found/ recovered
· The badge is so damaged/ faded that the details are not clear,
· The badge is no longer required by the holder
· The badge holder dies
The badges will then be taken out of circulation, to protect parking availability for disabled people who genuinely need them.
A further day of action will be held later in the year where enforcement officers will again be giving extra focus to the users of blue badges within the borough.
Councillor Steve Sweeney, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Most blue badge holders in Calderdale use their badge correctly, however there are a number of people who, whether intentionally or not, still hold, and unfortunately in some cases still use, badges which should no longer be in circulation.
“A policy to help us crack down on blue badge fraud is being discussed at Full Council on Wednesday 17 February, and along with this amnesty, is intended to be just part of a bigger campaign, not only leading to more rigorous enforcement, but also raising awareness and educating blue badge holders and users on the appropriate and legitimate use of a blue badge.”
For more information about the use of blue badges, visit the national blue badge guidance pages. Alternatively, visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/residents/transport-and-streets/parking or call 01422 288001.