THERE are those that believe providing ‘blue badge’ parking spaces somehow extends a privilege to the disabled. A privilege, they feel, that justifies a charge.

They believe it is enough to set aside spaces for the disabled and that providing anything more unfairly favours them. They are wrong because such views are the result of muddled thinking.

If social inclusion means the removal of barriers or issues for affected groups for the purpose of improving equality of access then ‘Blue badge’ spaces surely are part of that scheme. If a disabled person who cannot walk and has no money wishes to visit the dentist in town then a disabled parking space makes this possible. If an able-bodied person who can walk and has no money wishes to visit the dentist in town, that too is possible. There exists equality of access. 

Charging for blue badge spaces, therefore, introduces inequality of access to the detriment of the disabled. It means that if one is disabled, one has to pay to obtain access (e.g. to the dentist in town).

Through this letter, I invite the powers that be to remove such charges or, at least, respond with their justification for keeping them so that we can all understand. I’m happy to rescind if I’m the one who turns out to be muddled.  

Peter Bettridge