Published: November 15, 2011
Cost of disabled parking badges to increase for first time since 1983

Somerset County Council has this week invited disabled motorists in the Burnham-On-Sea to give their views on a potential increase in the cost of Blue Badges.

In response to national changes, the council said on Monday it is considering raising the cost of a new or renewed Blue Badge from £2 to £10 from 1st April 2012, as permitted under the national changes which come into effect in January. This would be the first increase in the charge for a Blue Badge since 1983.

Most Blue Badges are valid for three years and holders can park close to where they need to go, sometimes free of charge.

The increased charge would cover additional costs the council is facing to fund the national production of harder to forge badges and set up a database of badge holders to tackle misuse. The extra income would also help it fund additional checks of residency and identity, and cover more of the council’s costs for running the Blue Badge scheme at a time when budgets are stretched.

Councillor Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Community Services, said: "The national changes will reduce fraud and misuse and benefit the vast majority of badge holders, making it easier for them to make use of their badges. But they do mean increased costs to the Council and we feel that even at £10 every three years, a Blue Badge would still represent very good value for money."

Around 32,000 people currently have blue badges across Somerset, and each year the County Council issues around 10,000 for a charge of £2. The average cost to the Council is currently around £10 per badge but the new production fee will bring that up to an estimated £14 per badge.

The deadline for responses to this consultation is 15th January, 2012 and the potential rise in the charge for Blue Badges will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet on 1st February, 2012.

The council wants to hear the views of Blue Badge holders, carers for people who hold Blue Badges and anyone with an interest, before the decision is made. To take part in the consultation, visit www.somerset.gov.uk/bluebadge or call 0845 345 9133 for details.


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