Aberdeen City Council is to join forces with COSLA and SCOTS (the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland) to put pressure on the Scottish Government to review new legislation governing the use of disabled parking spaces.
Members of the Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure unanimously agreed to join forces with the national bodies to lobby Holyrood for a rethink on the new law.
The new Disabled Persons' Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009, which comes into
force on 1 October, raises several issues which will affect the provision of parking places for disabled people.
outlawing the creation of advisory, individualised on-street parking bays (of which Aberdeen has 1,300) outside the homes of disabled people and replacing them with new regulatory spaces available to any blue badge holder, not just the resident;
potentially significant delays in the process of creating these special bays if objections are made to the traffic orders required to create them;
adapting the existing road markings and signage throughout the city to bring them into line with new legislative requirements, at considerable cost;
significantly increased costs for local authorities in promoting and advertising traffic orders and working to identify and approach businesses which have car parks to discuss the possibility of managing their disabled spaces;
significantly increased workloads for council staff.
There are approximately 1,300 advisory on-street disabled parking spaces outside the homes of disabled people in Aberdeen. The broad estimated cost for meeting the requirements for the on-street aspect of the legislation alone is £400,000. The cost for the off-street aspect is unknown.
During the first meeting of the Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure Committee members raised concerns about the new legislation and its potential impact, both on disabled people and the council's finances.
Convener Councillor Kate Dean said: "I can see where the thoughts are behind this legislation, but it's a major can of worms that has created a whole range of difficulties which I'm sure the person who brought about the legislation did not intend.
"I have received letters from people across the city who have personalised parking bays outside their homes who are greatly concerned by this. Disabled people who have dedicated parking spaces outside their homes will lose the individualised status of those spaces. Although they will become regulatory, not advisory, they will be open to anyone with a blue badge to park in. This could have a very significant and detrimental impact on a lot of people not only in Aberdeen but country-wide.
We can join with Cosla and SCOTS to bring pressure to bear on the Scottish Government to rethink this issue."
Deputy council leader Kevin Stewart added: "We as a council need to take the common sense approach and point out the flaws in all this and try to iron out all of these flaws. There are considerable budget impacts for councils, as well as the impact on individuals."
The anticipated workload created by the new legislation includes reviewing current spaces, dealing with new applications from an estimated 7,000 people, assessing new spaces and liaising with landowners about the management of disabled spaces in supermarket and other private car parks there would also be an increased workload for the city wardens in managing these areas.
A further report about the impact of the new legislation, which received Royal Assent on 1 April, is due to be considered by the committee when it meets again in October.
If you have any queries regarding this, or any other news story, please contact Aberdeen City Council on: 08456 080910.