HC Deb 12 April 2000 vol 348 cc176-7W
Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what contingency plans he has made for providing continuing cover for parking for disabled drivers if badges were not received by 1 April; [118735]

(2) if he will make a statement on progress with the introduction of the new disabled parking badges. [118592]

Mr. Hill

The regulations to introduce the new blue parking badge for disabled people came into effect on 1 April.

Distribution of the new blue badges took place during the last week in March to local authorities who had placed orders. The majority of those local authorities received badges ready for business on Monday, 3 April. However, owing to some technical problems at the printer/supplier, some authorities did not receive the badges until Tuesday, 4 April.

My Department were informed by our supplier at the end of March that some local authorities had not placed orders for badges, despite letters prompting them to do so from both the Department and the badge supplier. Officials have since written again to all local authorities on this issue. From the checks we have carried out, and from the information provided by the supplier, we believe almost all local authorities have placed orders and have received a supply of badges. We have, however, taken the precaution of writing to ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) asking them to advise members not to take enforcement action against anyone displaying an orange badge which expires in April which is otherwise being used in accordance with the regulations.

We regret that the transition has not been as smooth as we would have wished, but we hope the action we have taken will avoid any distress or confusion for any disabled motorist who has difficulty getting a blue badge.