News & Features

Baywatch  Results 2020

Posted in General News on Monday, November 2nd, 2020

-          Supported by Baroness Grey-Thompson

In August DMUK asked the public to help us with our Baywatch Campaign by completing a survey on their parking experiences over the past 12 months. The results have now been calculated.

DMUK would like to thank everybody who participated in this year’s Baywatch Campaign. This year we had the biggest number of responses that we have ever seen which goes to show how important the problem of disabled parking abuse remains. The total number of responses was 777. We would also like to thank all our sponsors, the British Parking Association and BBFI Public Sector Investigations, and our supporting organisations that promoted the campaign and encouraged their members/supporters to take part. Without them the campaign would not be so successful.

Traditionally the Baywatch Campaign asks the public to survey supermarket car parks for levels of disabled parking abuse. We were unable to undertake this type of campaign in 2020 because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Instead we asked the public to complete a survey from home which asked them questions on their more general parking experiences. This allowed DMUK to expand the scope of the campaign to other parking settings.


Local Authorities

One of the most alarming statistics that came from the survey results was that 95.6% of participants did not think that local authorities were doing enough to tackle Blue Badge abuse. This is a very high percentage, but not at all surprising to DMUK. Every year the ‘Blue Badge Statistics’ are released and every year the number of local authorities actually prosecuting Blue Badge fraud is disappointingly low. The Baywatch Campaign also showed that only 20.8% of Blue Badge holders had ever been asked to have their Blue Badge inspected by an official and that 96.4% of participants supported more inspections of Blue Badges.

The disabled community has spoken, and local authorities must do more to support their parking needs. DMUK wants to see far more Blue Badge inspections and enforcement of the on-street concession.

Supermarket Parking

With the data gathered we cannot do our usual supermarket league table with who is performing best and worst. However, the results have shown that 53.4% of participants either find it ‘Difficult’ or ‘Very Difficult’ to find suitable disabled parking in general at supermarkets. Also 86.8% found that disabled parking bays were either ‘Often’ or ‘Very Often’ abused. (Abused is defined as vehicles parking in disabled bays not displaying a Blue Badge.)


These statistics show that supermarkets are not doing enough to support their disabled customers. Disabled parking is not managed properly, disabled parking bays are clearly not enforced, and abuse of the bays is rife.

Looking specifically at enforcement DMUK asked the question: When parking at the supermarket do you ever see signs of enforcement? In response to this 55.1% of respondents said No. The next question asked was: If you have reported disabled parking abuse to a member of staff do they take action? 86.7% of respondents answered ‘No’ to this question. This is distressing and shows that when a disabled customer asks for help their concerns are ignored by supermarket staff.

General Findings

The survey also asked participants about parking on their everyday journeys, not just at the supermarkets. On these types of journeys 74.8% of respondents said that finding suitable disabled parking was either ‘Difficult’ or ‘Very Difficult’.


Also, generally when parking 87.7% of respondents said that they ‘Often’ or ‘Very often’ saw disabled bays being abused.

These statistics are appalling. Being able to drive and park at their desired destination is imperative to the independence of disabled people. The figures show that disabled people are being disadvantaged and prevented from living independent lives because of the state of the nation’s disabled parking provision and enforcement. These statistics should be the wake up call that the parking industry needs to once and for all provide adequate parking provision to disabled motorists and make sure it is enforced correctly. The level of deterrent needs to reflect the importance of keeping disabled bays free for genuine users and at present the deterrent clearly isn’t enough.

The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Earlier in the summer we started to receive anecdotal evidence that disabled bays were being removed from car parks to make room for socially distanced queuing. As lockdown restrictions eased this became a more common problem. We posed the question in our survey: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic have you seen disabled bays being removed? Eg, for queuing. 65.8% of respondents answered ‘Yes’ to this question. Once again the needs of disabled people have been pushed to the back of the queue and equality has been forgotten.

Graham Footer, CEO at DMUK, said: “DMUK is delighted with the level of support it has received for this year’s Baywatch campaign. However, we are very concerned about the levels of disabled parking abuse in all parking settings. The parking industry and local authorities all need to do more to support disabled people. Accessibility starts in the car park and without proper parking provision and enforcement of disabled parking, disabled people find it increasingly difficult to live independent lives. DMUK demands that this issue is taken seriously”

Baywatch Appeal

To help DMUK to continue campaigning on the issue of disabled parking abuse we have a fundraising initiative called the ‘Baywatch Appeal’. This is a fundraising appeal which will help the charity raise vital funds to keep advocating the need for proper management of disabled parking bays. The charity encourages all supporters of the Baywatch campaign to donate if they are able. Please visit

DMUK Baywatch Sponsors

The DMUK Baywatch 2020 Campaign had two sponsors, the British Parking Association and BBFI Public Sector Investigations.

Dave Smith, Head of Public Affairs and Communications said:  “The results of this year’s survey show that more must be done to tackle the abuse of disabled parking bays and the public’s attitudes towards disabled and accessible parking generally needs to change. The parking sector has a clear role to play in ensuring that parking spaces reserved for Blue Badge holders are managed properly so that they are not obstructed and used only by people displaying a valid disabled Blue Badge. We encourage all those who manage parking to properly enforce their disabled bays so that only genuine Blue badge holders can park there.”

Paul Slowey Director of BBFI said: As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, which introduced disability parking permits the scheme is clearly still not enforced, only 1 in 5 people have had a badge checked. This shows a shocking disregard for protecting the rights of disabled motorists by Local Authorities who 95% of disabled drivers say are not doing enough. Where the few have chosen to protect the rights of disabled motorists and enforce the scheme compliance with the law is very high. The reality is that enforcing the scheme works.

Supporting organisations

DMUK Baywatch is also supported by:







Comments (13)

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Terry david Faulkner's Gravatar
Terry david Faulkner

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

I can’t believe that supermarkets don’t have someone who can check peoples badges I often see people who are not disabled using someone’s badge if you crack down on this it might help stop the abuse it’s because no one checks it is there badge please let’s do something to make supermarkets responsible

Jill Dowding-Walker's Gravatar
Jill Dowding-Walker

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

My worst experience was at a supermarket shop car park. Nearest to the doors are only 4 disabled parking bays. One was occupied correctly with a private car. Parked ACROSS the remaining 3 bays was a high top, LWB white van! Other shoppers kindly waited until the driver came out of the shop and asked him to move off!

Lynn Goetze's Gravatar
Lynn Goetze

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

The removal of disabled bays in Dagenham is still going on, supermarkets are using the bays for queues, our local garage has put a parcel locker system on their one space, our local hospital (King George) has used the whole disabled car park for a drive COVID testing station, leaving very few spaces near the front of the hospital which are frequently abused, our other hospital (Queens) have put a barrier on the oncology department so we now have to pay £2 to park, yes it can be claimed back but they’ve made it as difficult as possible, the cashier is too far to walk so would entail driving to the front of the hospital where it’s impossible to park and they won’t let you inside the main building unless you have proof of an appointment- catch 22

John Pocock's Gravatar
John Pocock

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

Exactly what I've been saying for ages. This is an example of local government abuse of disabled parking spaces. A local licensed bar has kept barriers up round disabled spaces so that they are able to put tables outside so that distancing can be carried out.The council has allowed this to carry on.Its also preventing easy access to other businesses. Local councils should be warned about this type of abuse and taken

ALAN GREEN 's Gravatar

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

I feel the reason supermarkets don't do anything about illegal parking in disabled bays is because it's not a money making project for them,in fact to police their disabled bays would cost them a salary extra, and so it is ignored ,even though these supermarkets are making huge profits they do not have a conscience, merely a money making machine for them regardless of the difficulties the disabled customers face each trip to their stores.

ALAN GREEN 's Gravatar

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

The big supermarket s just don't care ,so long as they make a profit from all customers including disabled people they just turn a blind eye to the abuse of their disabled bays being abused daily.

Chris Robinson's Gravatar
Chris Robinson

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

It is a few years ago that I visited my local ASDA supermarket only to find all disabled parking spaces full, a number of spaces being occupied by vehicles not displaying a Blue Badge. Two spaces were occupied by trades vehicles. When I brought this to the attention of customer services I asked where the inspector that patrolled the disabled parking bays was. I was told that he had left because he could not stand the verbal abuse that he had subjected to, most of which had come from young women. At the same venue I witnessed a young couple with a child come out of the store each pushing a trolley. They unloaded both trolleys into a car parked in a disabled bay. The child was put into the car, the woman got in and the man, wearing a post office uniform, got into another car parked in the opposite disabled bay an drove off. Neither car had a blue badge. Our local town has three roadside disabled bays in the centre of town. A couple of years ago Greggs the bakery took over a shop, the front of which is central to the disabled bays. Since the the bays are used by tradesmen on a regular basis between 11.45 and1.30 Monday to Friday purchasing lunch.

Doug.'s Gravatar

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

With respect to private parking bays over a weekend some time ago I did a small 'survey' asking a number of the supermarkets, retail 'warehouse' and a well known fast food outlet about a vehicle parked in a disabled parking bay. All said they were not responsible as parking was contracted out, some also including that they were too busy to intervene anyway or security staff could only operate within store. A few, including the the fast food outlet suggested contacting their head office. (Not too sure about the fast food outlet but I believed that they are franchised businesses operations so wonder if a 'head office' would be involved ? Hope this (unscientific) mini-survey is of some interest.

D Curry's Gravatar
D Curry

Monday, November, 2nd, 2020

There are a very limited amount of Disabled spaces at my local hospital & yet when I was referred to hospital as urgent I found at least 6 bays were taken up by an NHS mobile scanner, & this is typical when work is being carried out anywhere skips etc. seem to be the only place they can use. Nobody cares.

Michael Haighton's Gravatar
Michael Haighton

Tuesday, November, 3rd, 2020

We have Saisbury's and Ada in Rugby that have fines and and patrol,the other supermarkets do not bother. We use Tesco and last week and found we had lost 6 bays to a big shed-Customer services said they had had lots of complaints,but it would have to stay until the end of January. The best place I have found was Macdonalds .2 years ago, I tried to park in one of the 2 bays,but they were full and no one had badge. I spoke to the manager who watched for them leaving and stopped them saying if they did it again they would be banned.

Adrian Stapleton 's Gravatar
Adrian Stapleton

Wednesday, November, 4th, 2020

As a disabled driver with a disabled wife I feel I must point out defense of bays is not really on unless your a mixed martial arts exponent as when challenging a nine badge user violence is always their answer , I am pretty sure many more people find this

Mike Balkwill's Gravatar
Mike Balkwill

Sunday, November, 22nd, 2020

My main complaint about disabled parking is when they charge for it. It's not the paying that concerns me so much, as all the walking that's involved trying to find ticket or payment meters that work, as walking and standing are quite painful for me.

Brian bremer's Gravatar
Brian bremer

Monday, November, 16th, 2020

I have been Disabled almost as long as the Disability act took effect, during the time since I have seen virtually no real progress regarding legislature on parking discipline of Disabled bays. Whether they are local Authority, Hospitals, Councils or Private establishments, often Companies do almost nothing to prevent abuse of spaces. I reside in an area which has a high population of Traveller Communites, sadly many of these Travellers use Commercial vans and regularly ignore Disabled Parking regulations, in local Supermarkets the staff are totally unwilling to challenge these occasions due to the abuse they receive. In other situations, car parks have a totally disproportionate number of spaces allocated to Disabled, the worst offenders of this are Supermarkets and Garden centres. In Towns, Councils seem to lack understanding of safety in design or location of Disabled spaces with many being dangerous to manoeuvre into. In one local Town, Evesham, one has to reverse against the flow of traffic in order to park, I have lost count of the number of times other drivers have become impatient to the point of abusive. There’s no coherence Nationally of how Disabled spaces are marked out, even within the same Authority. Some spaces are yellow with hatching, some white with a simple roadside sign on the surface, in others, it’s just a yellow square. Please can someone wake up and suggest the UK has one system that Highways and Councils adhere to, or face prosecution for non compliance themselves