Douglas Campbell, executive director, Disabled Drivers’ Association
Sir; The BRC’s director general bodyswerves the impact of disabled bay parking abuse on disabled customers (Bay aggro unwise, Letters, July 24) while seeking to justify its new code with assurances of “dealing with the problem effectively”.
Any retailer can indeed “devise a means of alerting non-disabled persons to the fact that they are not entitled to use the spaces” as suggested in the code, and that is a useful first step. However, the experience of disabled customers shows this does not work in isolation.
We suggested to the BRC that the code include more practical advice for retailers on tackling bay abuse, but it does not.
The key question is: is the BRC really serious about tackling parking abuse, or is the new code just a sop to keep campaigners quiet? We would have liked to have seen the BRC consult more widely and take suggestions from those already taking direct and proactive steps to combat bay abuse.
If retailers want practical ideas on bay abuse, they can go to www.baywatchcampaign.org or talk to the big four supermarket chains which took part in the Baywatch competition and who do at least take the problem seriously (The Grocer, July 17, p8). Or approach the Department for Transport, which will be publishing the research it commissioned from Baywatch on the most effective ways of tackling bay abuse.
Meanwhile, we suggest retailers treat the BRC code carefully. They might find it useful to take legal advice on whether their own policies and procedures, in regard to parking, meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. With more than one in five bays occupied by non-disabled people, disabled people are sick and tired of not being able to park in bays allocated to them.
We suspect it won’t be long before we see disabled customers taking a retailer to court.