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Disabled drivers in Bury face blue badge backlog
DISABLED drivers are being warned about a paperwork backlog affecting the issue of blue badges in Bury.
A Prestwich woman has been left without a valid badge after she found out her renewal could not be processed until next month.
Bury Council has issued or renewed blue badges to about 10,000 drivers since June, 2011, allowing the holders special parking rights.
But a staff shortage has caused delays.
The disabled woman, who asked not to be named, suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and has difficulty walking without getting tired.
She said: “Despite this, I have fought to stay in work and to have some sort of quality of life outside work.
“My limited mobility and energy levels mean that I am lucky if I can get in and out of a shop without making myself so ill that I have to sit for an hour to recover.”
She added: “My blue badge ran out on May 31.
“I applied to have it renewed at the beginning of May but they could not renew it without giving me an assessment on July 14.
“Six weeks without a badge means not going anywhere or sitting in car parks or on the side of the road until a space becomes available close to where I need to go so that I can actually manage the walk.
“Stress makes my condition worse and this situation is stressful.”
A Bury Council spokesman urged people to renew their blue badges two months before expiry.
He said: “Everyone, not least drivers in Bury, wants blue badges to go only to people who are entitled to have them.
“As part of ensuring that happens, applications for new or renewed blue badge have to be carefully assessed.
“Some applicants may be asked to have an independent mobility assessment, carried out by an occupational therapist.
“Due to a shortage of staff to carry out tests, there has been a delay recently in arranging appointments, but we are in the process of taking on more staff and arranging more sessions so that any backlog is cleared.”
He added: “We do not send out reminders about expiry, therefore we would urge badge holders to check the expiry date and apply to renew it in good time.”