The British Retail Consortium has launched a code of practice for retailers designed to tackle abuse of disabled parking bays.
Under the code, all BRC members have agreed to make regular inspections of disabled bays and devise effective means of deterring non-disabled visitors from using them. They have also agreed to ensure adequate parking provision is made for disabled customers when plans are drawn up for new stores or refurbishments.
A survey of 800 supermarket car parks by the Baywatch campaign in January showed 21% of disabled bays were typically taken by non-disabled drivers, a rise of 3% on the previous year.
It would be up to retailers to devise ways of deterring customers from using the bays, said the BRC. Methods could include notes on windscreens or messages to the owners of offending vehicles read out over store tannoy systems.
BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins said: “All BRC members with parking facilities support the code, putting substantial weight behind the efforts already being made by retailers and giving them more power in effectively dealing with unauthorised users.”