May 19 2013 Latest news:
by Matthew Stott
Thursday, January 24, 2013
DRIVERS were fined more than £50,000 for parking in disabled bays in the space of just three years – with thousands of pounds more being chased, figures reveal today.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information act by The Ipswich Star show that traffic wardens in the borough handed out 1,829 tickets between 2009 and 2011, bagging £53,788 in fines.
Barbara Thorn, chairman of Ipswich Mencap, which offers support to youngsters living at Lombardy Park, said she was “angry” that normal-bodied motorists “continue to flout the law” and park in disabled bays.
She said: “It’s so frustrating when someone, who is clearly not disabled, has parked in a disabled bay.
“They don’t realise the inconvenience it causes. They need to see it from the other side.”
In 2009 there were 784 tickets issued for parking in disabled bays, collecting £22,407.
A year later this dropped to 527 fines, totalling £15,889, and in 2011 wardens amassed £15,492 through 518 tickets.
Mrs Thorn added: “I have two sons who are disabled and have had many arguments at my local supermarket with people who have parked where we should be.
“It’s so annoying. People need to be educated on the effect.
“They can’t be bothered to walk an extra couple of minutes and have no consideration for others. It’s not right.”
Councillor Philip Smart, transport portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council, said: “We take a firm line against motorists who park illegally in bays set aside for disabled drivers.
“Not only am I pleased that our collection rates are going up, I am pleased that the ‘fair parking’ message seems to be getting through and there are less incidents now than in previous years.”
By the end of 2011 there were 113 tickets – worth £7,910 – issued to motorists for parking in a disabled zone that had not been settled.
In 2010, £1,610 worth of tickets were written off, which dropped to £1,330 a year later.
The Blue Badge entitles disabled people to use on-street disabled parking spaces, usually located as close as possible to the goods and services that they may need to access.
Blue Badge holders may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours in Ipswich, except where there is a ban on loading or unloading.