§ Tim Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to change the system for issuing blue badges for disabled drivers; 
(2) whether he has any plans to reform the powers of inspection over disabled blue badges to police. 
§ Mr. McNulty
I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 1 December 2003,Official Report, column 4W, on the plans to change the Blue Badge Scheme.
With regard to powers of inspection, we are committed to introducing a specific power for the police, traffic wardens and local authority parking enforcement officers to inspect badges. We are also looking at the feasibility of establishing a national database of badge holders; the introduction of smartcard technology; increasing penalties for abuse and misuse of the Scheme.430W
The power to inspect, and a number of other measures, will need to be introduced through primary legislation and we are looking for a suitable legislative opportunity to do so. Meanwhile, we are already working on the changes that require secondary legislation, taking forward a number of research projects and drafting new guidance for local authorities to accompany the changes. We aim to implement the changes at the earliest opportunity.