Outrage as girl with cerebral palsy and sight problems is stripped of Blue Badge

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A FURIOUS mum has hit out after her daughter – who has cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and sight problems – was turned down for a disabled parking pass.

Erin Nisbet was refused a Blue Badge – which would allow her family to park in disabled areas – by East Dunbartonshire Council which insists it must abide by strict guidelines.

The Kirkintilloch family are furious at the decision and have called for more information.

However, there could be good news on the horizon for Erin and others, as new powers could be introduced at the Scottish Parliament – including a right of appeal and a clamp-down on the misuse of badges.

Erin previously had a Blue Badge since she was three-years-old, but last year the family’s application was unexpectedly turned down.

Mum Lynn Canning said: “I was appalled when my then 10-year-old daughter Erin was, for the first time, refused her disabled badge.

“She was born with mild cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and sight difficulties – at what point did she become non-disabled?

“Maybe East Dunbartonshire Council know the answer to this. She apparently didn’t make the criteria.

“Is it based on – for the good grace of God – that she can walk the length of herself without pain? The criteria needs to be looked into and judged individually.”

She added: “A 10-year-old is obviously going to be able to out-walk an 80-year-old, I understand that, but to refuse a disabled child a disabled badge? I don’t understand.”

Erin – who has two sisters and a brother – is now 11.

Tony Keogh, head of social work at the council, said: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, we would be happy to look into the circumstances should the family concerned wish to contact us directly to discuss.”

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod is supporting the proposed Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill, which is currently at the first consultation stage.

It includes powers to cancel and confiscate badges in certain circumstances, and to provide an appeals process for unsuccessful applicants.

Ms Mcleod said: “For many users, the Blue Badge contributes greatly towards their enjoying a better quality of life, allowing them to get out and about without the worry of finding a suitable parking space or expense of using other transport.”

* Feedback must be in by March 20. You can e-mail Bluebadgeresponses@scottish.parliament.uk

The council will be submitting a response.

Social work boss Tony Keogh said: “The council at present does not have enforcement powers in relation to Blue Badges. This is a matter for the police.

“The judgement criteria changed on April 1, 2012, as part of the Scottish Government’s reform of the Blue Badge scheme. The criteria was tightened up so that the only people who can receive a Blue Badge are those who are in receipt of high-level DLA mobility allowance or who are assessed as being ‘unable to walk or virtually unable to walk’.”

TURNED DOWN: Lynn and daughter Erin are pictured.

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