Free disabled permits for spaces are being handed to overweight people who can’t walk more than 50 metres.
Obese drivers are being handed blue badges allowing them to park in disabled bays. The free permits for spaces next to shops, stations and other busy areas will save them from having to walk over 50 metres.
Not everyone is happy with the free permits. Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, has said that obese people would benefit more from the money being spent on them to help them lose weight.
Mr Fry stated: “I don’t think councils should be giving these passes out as the obesity problem gets worse. That is pandering to an individual who should be taking responsibility and getting themselves in shape. Local councils have to put these people on weight management courses, which are considerably cheaper.”
Overweight people may qualify for a disabled badge because, according to Department for Transport guidelines, a person can apply for a permit if they have a “permanent and substantial disability that causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.”
In the last three years, at least half a dozen such permits were recorded in the UK, but most councils do not keep records of the reasons for handing out the permits.The real figure may be much higher.
Councillor Chris Towe of Walsall Council said: “All assessments are undertaken by an independent mobility assessor in line with Government legislation. Each applicant is assessed against their mobility, not their medical condition.”
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