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ORANGE BADGE SCHEME TO BE REVIEWED - KEITH HILL

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The disabled persons' parking badge scheme is to be reviewed, transport minister Keith Hill told Parliament today. ...
The disabled persons' parking badge scheme is to be reviewed, transport minister Keith Hill told Parliament today. The scheme

enables disabled people to park close to their destinations.

The decision to review the scheme comes after `consideration of

recommendations made by the disabled persons transport advisory committee (DPTAC) - the government's statutory advisers on the

transport needs of disabled people - and the results of a survey of

local authorities who administer the scheme.

In response to a written Parliamentary Question from Oona King MP

(Bethnal Green and Bow), Keith Hill said:

'I have given very careful consideration to DPTAC's report and to the

further information which we sought from local authorities about the

administration of the Scheme. I have also taken the opportunity to

consult my colleagues in the devolved administrations and in Northern

Ireland.

'We have concluded that a review of the scheme is necessary to ensure

it continues to serve its fundamental purpose: to enable severely

disabled people to park close to their destinations. Without the

badge the mobility of those who are most disabled would be greatly

restricted.

We will be starting the process in the New Year and will be reporting further progress to the House at that time. For now, I can confirm that the review will look at the eligibility criteria, as well as the administration and enforcement of the scheme.

'Although the Scheme in Scotland and Wales is a matter for the devolved administrations, and in Northern Ireland for the DOE

Northern Ireland, I have agreed with my colleagues that the review

will be carried out on a UK-wide basis. That arrangement will not,

however, prevent changes being introduced on a devolved basis.'

NOTES

1. A paper entitled 'Review of the Orange Badge Scheme' was

published on 22 February 1999 by the government's statutory

advisors, the disabled persons transport advisory committee

(DPTAC). The paper called on the government to review the orange

badge scheme, to tighten the eligibility criteria and to deal more

effectively with those who abuse the scheme.

2. The government's intention is to initiate discussion groups

involving the key players - disability organisations, enforcement

authorities and local authorities. A group will also be set up, as

part of the consultation process, to oversee that exercise. A

detailed consultation document will then be drawn up for wide

circulation to organisations representing disabled and elderly

people, local authorities and their associations and enforcement

authorities.

3. The review will be carried out in conjunction with the Scottish

executive, the Welsh Assembly and DOE (Northern Ireland).

4. The review is independent of the decision, taken by the

government in December 1998, to introduce the European-model blue

badge as a replacement for the current orange badge. Blue badges

will be phased in over the next three years as orange badges come

up for renewal, or new applications are processed. That change

affects only the design of the badge and does not impact on any of

the issues which will be subject of this wider review.

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