HC Deb 08 September 2003 vol 410 cc274-5W
Ross Cranston

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the action he intends to take in respect of each of the recommendations from the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee on the future of the Blue Badge Scheme; and if he will make a statement; [127981]

(2)when he expects the changes to the Blue Badge Scheme which do not require primary legislation to be in place; and if he will make a statement; [127982]

(3)what plans he has to amend the publication, The Blue Badge Scheme parking concession for disabled and blind people; if he will make the section on the duties of blue badge holders clearer; and if he will make a statement. [127983]

Mr. McNulty

As my colleague the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson) announced on 18 December 2002 a summary of our responses to each of DPTAC's recommendations has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

We will be taking forward the majority of the recommendations through changes to primary and secondary legislation, research and in new guidance to local authorities on the scheme. As we progress our work we will be consulting and involving major disability organisations, many of which act as umbrella organisations representing people with a range of disabilities. Copies of consultation material will additionally be made available to any individual or group who requests it.

We are pursuing a suitable legislative slot for those changes requiring primary legislation. In the meantime we have begun work on those recommendations which require changes to secondary legislation and will also be embarking on a number of research projects over the next few months. The new guidance, which will cover all aspects of the scheme will be issued when changes have been introduced.

The Department's publication, "The Blue Badge Scheme: Parking concessions for disabled and blind people" will be amended to reflect those changes and will be issued in tandem with the guidance.

Timing for introduction of the changes will be subject to the outcome of the research, consultations and the parliamentary process as appropriate. I am not able at this stage to give a firm timetable, but would reassure my hon. and learned Friend that we are firmly committed to introducing the changes at the earliest possible opportunity.