BRACKNELL is among dozens of councils with no policy for prosecuting people who abuse the Blue Badge parking scheme.

The AA said councils must "get their act together", after figures revealed just two-thirds have a policy for dealing with those who misuse badges.

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Councils issue Blue Badges to people with disabilities to allow them to park closer to their destination.

Department for Transport data shows that Bracknell Forest was one of 51 councils that did not have a policy in place for tackling misuse during 2018-19.

Across England, drivers abusing the system were prosecuted 1,432 times in 2018-19, an 18 per cent increase on the year before.

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In 99 per cent of cases, the legal action was against non-badge holders.

The AA says the increase in prosecutions shows that more areas are “finally starting to tackle the issue”, but criticised councils without policies on the issue.

Edmund King, the motoring association’s president, added: “Councils without a policy must get their act together for the sake of the millions of Blue Badge holders who genuinely need them.

“Drivers must also show some more humanity and stop abusing the system.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said people could help their council win the fight against Blue Badge fraud by tipping off the local authority about suspected misuse.

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But he added that members of the public should bear in mind that “people’s need for a badge might not be obvious”.

While the number of people across the country who are automatically entitled to a Blue Badge has risen gradually since 2014, the proportion of those who have one has dropped.

In Bracknell Forest, 54 per cent of the 2,300 people who automatically qualified had one at the end of March.

In the same month five years previously, the figure stood at 80 per cent.

Kevin Gibbs, executive director, delivery at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “The rights and responsibilities surrounding blue badge usage are set out by the Department of Transport, and we adhere to these. There is no statutory requirement for a local authority to have their own policy on blue badge misuse.

"Any individuals who attempt to exploit the blue badge scheme risk being fined by the police, traffic wardens, parking attendants or civil enforcement officers.

“We would encourage blue badge holders to use them responsibly, further blue badge guidelines can be found on the Department of Transport’s website.”

Across England, 47 per cent of those eligible had a badge in March, down from a peak of 64 per cent five years earlier.

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Sue Bott, from the charity Disability Rights UK, said: “We have concerns based on anecdotal evidence that where benefit assessments have become more draconian, people are losing their Motability vehicles as a result of losing benefits to which they should be entitled.

“This may be a factor in the downward trend of Blue Badge use.”

Earlier this year, the DfT announced that the scheme would be extended to people with hidden disabilities, and launched a review into Blue Badge fraud.