Dear Mr Mustard,

Many residents have commented to me on the large number of blue badges they have seen on cars in our high streets and their doubts whether all of these are being used legitimately. I saw one very questionable instance and asked the parking attendant if they could challenge the driver. I was told that even if they knew the use of the badge was fraudulent it was not their job to get involved.  However, I understand the police consider enforcement a council issue, so do we assume that potential misuse is never challenged?

I have also noticed that in some town centre locations with double yellow lines cars displaying blue badges are parked there more or less continuously. What is the point of the double yellows if in reality there are always vehicles parked there?



Dear Graham,

Thank you for your question. Given the sheer number of blue badges in issue in Barnet alone, about 15,000, there must be some fraud.

Oh dear, traffic wardens seem to know how to issue penalty charge notices by the thousand but not much else. The Blue Badge Rights & Responsibilities Guide says "Police officers, traffic wardens, parking attendants and civil enforcement officers have the power to inspect your badge. These people should produce an identity card with their photograph on it to prove they are who they say they are. If any of these people ask to see your badge, you must show it to them. If you do not, you will be breaking the law and you could be fined up to £1,000", so that is pretty clear.

What the contract with the parking enforcement contractor, NSL says in the invitation to tender is: "The service provider may be asked to assist the council in the detection and prevention of blue badge or permit fraud" and: "Proposals are invited for providing this service on an ad-hoc basis."  So based upon your experience no such request has been made.

The council used to do checks, as this article from 2009 shows. Perhaps it is time they did some more as that will act as a deterrent to others. The cynic would say there is no money in it for the council so they don't bother but it is the council's duty to uphold the law in this area to stop it falling into disrepute.

Harrow Council can carry out checks, as this story shows, as can Enfield Council (you may have reported this).

Perhaps if more complaints were made to councillors at their ward clinics, the need for checks would rise up their priority list.

As for double yellow lines, it is a central government rule that blue badge holders can park on single or double yellow lines for up to 3 hours if they display their badge and a clock set showing their arrival time. I do know that that restriction is rigidly enforced. You must have seen a series of cars parked one after the other if a car was there all day. I agree it is odd that a place that isn't safe for a car to park when not showing a blue badge suddenly is if a piece of card is in the windscreen.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Mustard