HC Deb 01 December 2003 vol 415 c4W
Mr. Goodman

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to reform the system of blue parking badges available for drivers with disabilities; and if he will make a statement. [140831]

Mr. McNulty

Following a comprehensive review of the Blue Badge Parking Scheme the Government have accepted a number of the recommendations made by our statutory advisers, the Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC). These address many key issues of concern and are intended to make significant improvements to the Scheme. An announcement was made by David Jamieson on 18 December 2002 at which time a summary of the Government's responses to each of those recommendations was placed in the House Libraries.

We are taking forward the majority of the recommendations through changes to primary and secondary legislation, research and in new guidance to local authorities on the Scheme. As we progress our work we will be consulting and involving major disability organisations, many of which act as umbrella organisations representing people with a range of disabilities.

We are pursuing a suitable legislative slot for those changes requiring primary legislation. In the meantime we have begun work on those recommendations which require changes to secondary legislation and will also be embarking on a number of research projects over the next few months. The new guidance, which will cover all aspects of the Scheme will be issued when changes have been introduced.

Timing for introduction of the changes will be subject to the outcome of the research, consultations and the Parliamentary process as appropriate. I am not able at this stage to give a firm timetable, but we are wholly committed to introducing the changes at the earliest possible opportunity.