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Hansard 19 Apr: Column 983 ...
Hansard 19 Apr: Column 983

A Bill which would require local authorities to extend concessionary parking available to disabled people to carers and health and social services professionals when they were on duty was given a first reading.

Introducing the private member's Bill, Christopher Fraser, Conservative MP for Mid-Dorset and North Poole, said the problems of parking for community nurses, midwives and others - especially when attending an emergency - had been highlighted by the Royal College of Nursing.

Parking tickets were often issued and some councils would not accept the explanation given by the professionals. Valuable time was lost when a social worker or carer had to find and pay for a valid parking space.

He said extension of the badge scheme would aid all carers, but especially those dealing with people living on busy roads or with little parking provision.

Mr Fraser said that under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 a badge could also be issued to an organisation concerned with care of the disabled for any motor vehicle used by or on behalf of the institution to carry disabled people.

His Bill would allow members of accredited agencies while on duty to park directly outside the house or block of flats in which their patients or clients lived, whether or not there were parking restrictions such as double yellow lines or residents' permit requirements.

Poole BC had been persuaded of the merit of such a scheme and allowed voluntary carers to park on yellow lines when visiting the homes of people in their care.

Mr Fraser added: 'Of course, I do not expect local authorities to issue individual permits to each and every carer operating within their boundary. My Bill proposes that concessionary parking disks be issued to accredited agencies, with a local authority overseeing the process.

'The number of disks and the precise conditions attached to their use should be for those authorities to decide in the light of local needs and circumstances. I should make it clear that any sustained abuse of the concession by an individual or organisation could lead to permits being withdrawn.'

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