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The sorry story of the official abuse of UK disabled drivers parking exemptions
Following the receipt of a Parking Notice Fine recently for parking on double yellow lines when displaying a Disabled Badge (belonging to my 86 year old mother), I decided to conduct a Freedom of Information request with my County Council.

At the heart of the matter was the fact that I had (or rather my mother had) unknowingly displayed the Blue Badge upside down. This attracted a fine. Thinking it a straight forward matter (I should be so naive) I wrote to my local Council providing details of my mother's blue badge in order to establish the fact that it was current and in date ( UK Blue Badges are - quite extraordinarily - printed on both sides, one side showing a photo of the card holder, the other side showing the date of its expiry).

The design of the badge is clearly flawed and there is no reason whatsoever why it shouldn't be printed on one side only, showing both the photo and date of expiry. But (he said with a knowing smile) such an obvious solution would immediately curtail the revenue raising potential of councils.

With most of the councils in my County having now responded, many have elected (in my view) to use a loophole in the law not to provide the information requested --- which was this:

What percentage of tickets issued to Blue Badge holders were for incorrectly displaying the badge?

Even the local council who issued the PCN to me for "incorrectly displaying" the Blue Badge, claim they do not keep records of the "types" of infringement and they they do not have to keep such records.

But one courageous local council - and one of the bigger ones too - did provide the requested information. Of a total of 210 PCNs issued to Blue Badge holders from 1996 to date, 81% were for incorrectly displaying the badge.

Supposing this percentage to be fairly typical, not just across my County, but across the nation, what we have is a designedly punitive measure aimed at invalided drivers - who, because of their handicap, are probably one of the least able categories of drivers to be able to afford the additional financial burden heaped on them.

The words, 'cynical', 'disgraceful', 'bastards', "shot, "taken", "and", "ought", "out", "be' and "to" should be rearranged into a suitable sentence that expresses my opinion.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
It is your lawful right, when you are issued with a Parking Fine (PCN) to be able to appeal it. There are three stages to this. The first two are decided (incredibly so) by the local council under whom the “offending” PCN has been issued. This, clearly, is a case of the inmates running the prison, as it is in the financial interests of the council to decline the appeal. One might, therefore, be forgiven for concluding that the law governing parking fines for invalided drivers was drafted by bureaucrats for the benefit of bureaucrats and not the invalided drivers?

Supposing you haven’t lost the will to live and simply given up all hope by the time the second refusal of your appeal has occurred - and shelled out the money (which by now has doubled because you had the temerity to appeal and not to pay straight away), the third and final appeal you are able to make is reviewed by an independent adjudicator and not the issuing council (hooray!).

Having had both my initial appeals declined by my local council - who went to the trouble to tell me how carefully they take mitigating circumstances into account (not), I rafted a letter to the Independent Adjudicator. Within a fortnight of this appeal (see below) being mailed to the independent adjudicator, I received a letter from my local council saying that they had decided to withdraw the PCN.

I am sure that this outcome will be viewed by some as a triumph of reason over the letter of the law, because the designed fail-safe system worked fairly in the end. Perhaps. But how many fined Blue Badge holders have the time, ability and tenacity to follow the appeals process to the bitter end? My guess is that it is very few indeed. The conclusion, therefore, is that the system is purposely flawed and purposely weighed in favour of aiding the raising of revenue under the cloak of doing a good deed.

Duplicity is as duplicity does, Tom Hanks might have said in his film Forrest Gump.

My final appeal letter follows below:

Quote:Appeal to the Adjudicator

These are the facts.

My vehicle was parked in XXXX High Street with an improperly displayed Disabled Badge.

But there are, in my opinion, powerful mitigating circumstances why this PCN should be waived.

At the time the vehicle was parked there were no other available parking bays throughout the length of XXXX High Street (approx. 1/2 mile in length, if not longer).

I was taking my mother to an Opticians appointment who’s shop is located at the top end of the High Street. My mother is 86 years old, is frail and can barely walk - and only then with the aid of a stick and an arm (in this case mine) - and walking always causes her pain. I, therefore, parked at the closest possible point to the Opticians.

My mother is now partially blind in one eye due to a mature cataract that she has persistently refused to have treated out of fear, and which has taken me at least two years to convince her to undergo treatment. Hence this appointment!. She is also somewhat hazy in the other eye too because of a previous cataract operation that wasn’t as successful as it might have been and which caused her pain and discomfort during the procedure.

So as to minimize the discomfort and difficulty she suffers when walking, I parked as closely to the Opticians address as I could. The pain and difficulty she experiences derives from a fall she had 18 months ago (due to her poor eyesight) that resulted in a broken hip necessitating a partial hip replacement. She is presently undergoing further treatment for ongoing inflammation and the constant pain to her hip and lower leg. Notwithstanding this, she also suffers from Angina that causes her additional discomfort (shortness of breath) when walking.

There simply was nowhere else to park within walking distance for such a severely disabled person. As I have explained previously to the Council, I do not know the procedure for displaying a Disabled Badge as I have never used one before. The extent of my involvement in this was to make sure my mother - who is the Badge holder - displayed the Badge in the windscreen. To the best of my knowledge I had done all that I needed to do to park legally.

The Badge was in force (proof of this has been provided to the Council) but was displayed improperly - as we now know. My mother is normally fairly lucid for her age but in situations like these (attending an Optician, Hospital, Doctor etc) she has a tendency to become fazed because of panic/stress. There was, therefore, no intention to break the law.

I am concerned that the photograph provided by the Council does not fully nor accurately reflect the situation at the time of parking. Had it been taken from the other direction (looking down the length of High Street) a far more accurate picture of the actual situation would arise. There was no space behind me. Another motorist had parked directly behind me and there was no other choice but to park on a drop curb (not forgetting that parking on a drop curb with a properly displayed Disabled Badge is not an offense). I can only imagine that the Council’s decision to mention the drop curb is to justify its decision not to waive the charge and to bolster their hope that this will ameliorate their position. After all, it remains one parking offense at best - not two and, moreover, the ticket issued was for an incorrectly displayed Disabled Badge and not for parking in front of a drop curb.

I feel quite strongly that this is a case where XXXX Council had the opportunity to react with consideration and dignity to the foregoing circumstances but have chosen, instead, to strictly adhere to the letter of the law.

I understand and appreciate that the Adjudicator may only allow an appeal if it falls within the stated statutory grounds -- and in this case it clearly doesn’t. However, the Adjudicator may recommend the Council to waive the charge if he/she decides there are sufficient mitigating circumstances in the appellants case. If ever there were a case where mitigating circumstances apply it is, in my view, this one.

Finally, it is completely true that there are no statutory grounds for appealing the PCN for an incorrectly displayed Blue Badge. You are guilty as charged.

Would the British arsehole who drafted this law please stand up. Former VP nd war criminal in-waiting, Dick Cheney, would like to introduce you his best and most lascivious porno star, Miss Washington Water-Board.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
In the English-speaking [spitting] world and much of that that doesn't know a word or received English or 'americanese' dialects, you are not only guilty until proven innocent - to save time and the time/trouble/morality of officialdom, you are simply GUILT if you are charged - even if wrongly charged. Would you ask a Gestapo or SS officer to meet you in court to contest the alleged offense....such are the times. Your case is minor, but the same applies for renditions, torture, denial of habeas corpus, refusal to have an attorney/barrister, and more....these are perilous times indeed.....evidenced in the small and large scales. They [in power] are always 'correct' and we [not in power] are always guilty, even if innocent or having made a logical error.....welcome to Fascistland.....a Disney Production. :vollkommenauf:
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

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