News & Features

Baywatch 2021 is Coming

Posted in General News on Monday, May 10th, 2021

-Supported by Baroness Grey-Thompson

A common problem for many disabled motorists is not being able to park at their desired destination. The major complaint is that the disabled bays are all occupied with cars not displaying a Blue Badge. Last year DMUK changed the format of the parking survey so that participants could fill it in at home. This allowed the charity to also expand the scope of the survey to gauge your opinions of other aspects of parking and the Blue Badge Scheme.

Last year saw record numbers of participants and the data collected was extremely useful in not just tackling the supermarkets, but also the problems in the wider parking industry. It is for that reason that the charity has decided to permanently change the format of the Baywatch Campaign. We will no longer ask you to go to the supermarket and count vehicles not displaying a Blue Badge which are parked in disabled bays. You will be asked to think back about your parking experiences over the last 12 months and answer a series of questions.

When the survey closes the results are calculated and published. The charity presents this data to the parking industry and encourages it to take the parking problems of disabled motorists more seriously and manage their parking provision correctly. The Baywatch campaign also aims to change public attitudes by bringing to the attention of disabled bay abusers the impact that their actions can have.

The Baywatch campaign was first launched in 2002 and over the years we’ve seen small improvements in the levels of disabled parking abuse. The eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge has changed and we are seeing increased numbers of Blue Badge holders and therefore an increase in demand for Blue Badge parking. It is now more important than ever that Blue Badge bays are enforced to make sure that only genuine Blue Badge holders are parking in disabled bays. If the parking industry does not act now we could see far more incidents born from the frustration Blue Badge holders have because disabled bays are not properly enforced.

Results 2020

One of the most alarming statistics that came from the 2020 campaign 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 results showed that in supermarket car parks 53.4% of participants either find it ‘Difficult’ or ‘Very Difficult’ to find suitable disabled parking. Also 86.8% found that disabled parking bays were either ‘Often’ or ‘Very Often’ abused.

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.

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.

Baywatch 2021

The only way to keep the pressure on the parking industry is to run the DMUK Baywatch Campaign annually and this year it takes place in August 2021 and we will publish full details of how to take part in our August issue. You’ll also be able to participate online by visiting the DMUK website

We hope to make this year bigger and better than ever before and have a number of organisations supporting Baywatch 2021.

The campaign has support from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, she commented: “It’s so sad that Disabled Motoring UK has to run its Baywatch Campaign. Disabled bay enforcement should be an imperative, especially for the major supermarkets that can afford to invest in policing their car parks. I see disabled parking abuse regularly, There is a real lack of understanding about how essential these bays are to disabled people and I applaud DMUK’s Baywatch Campaign as it plays a vital role in highlighting the issue of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets.

Graham Footer, Chief Executive, at DMUK, said: “Baywatch is one of the charity’s longest running campaigns and is really important to draw attention to the parking problems that disabled people face when just trying to go about their daily lives. It is now an annual campaign for the charity and we hope this will allow us to gather momentum and keep the pressure on the supermarkets and other car park owners to do more to support their disabled customers. It’s fantastic that the campaign has support from Baroness Grey-Thompson again this year. This campaign relies on public participation and we hope her support will encourage others to get involved.”

Supporting organisations


DMUK's 2021 Baywatch Campaign is also supported by:






We’d like to get as many organisations involved as possible to spread awareness of the campaign. There is still time to get involved and we welcome all support with this vital campaign.

Comments (7)

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Sam Dhaliwal's Gravatar
Sam Dhaliwal

Tuesday, May, 11th, 2021

I like DMUK. Parking in disabled bays should legally need a blue badge WITH photo of customer on the front.

Richard Still's Gravatar
Richard Still

Tuesday, May, 11th, 2021

Our local supermarket Asda, we allways have trouble parking in a disabled bay. Or we sometimes get overlooked at by the older generation saying you cannot park there your not disabled. My sons disability is not always shown which people cannot understand. Im always a polite person and I would never discuss my sons disability to a stranger. I'm always saying I have a right to use the disabled bay as well as you. If I go to the supermarket in the evenings then you get the people park in disabled Bays and you know full well they are not disabled and don't display a badge. I always report this to security on site, which they normally move on. I'm glad that something is being done and yes the authorities really need to do something to stamp this out.

Sam Dhaliwal's Gravatar
Sam Dhaliwal

Tuesday, May, 11th, 2021

Not all supermarkets staff advise non disabled people not to park in the bay. From experience: Tesco, advised me when I notified them staff can ASK motorists without badge not to park but CANNOT/(WOULD NOT) force them. Maybe Tesco staff afraid of losing the custom?! In the years using bays I have NEVER seen supermarket security/staff move non Blue Badge motorists from a bay. They're busy & have "...better things to do!" as I overheard one member of staff say!

Christopher Kay's Gravatar
Christopher Kay

Friday, May, 21st, 2021

Stayed at a Premier Inn this week, first time away in over a year and found that BB bays at this establishment has become somewhere to park your car if it does not fit in a standard none BB space. Of the six BB spaces only one car displayed a BB.

Martin Smith's Gravatar
Martin Smith

Friday, July, 30th, 2021

Our son has a blue badge and motability car but doesn't drive. If he's taken out in another car or taxi with blue badge we have to move the car out of the bay, which maybe some way from house. Adds to congestion in road. Exacerbated as we need a LA permit as well. Could there be an official duplicate badge available, even for nominal fee? - parking in supermarket disabled bays. Infrequently monitored. builders etc working at supermarket think they're entitled to park in them - I know people who think they can use bays if there's plenty of empty bays...but availability changes quickly.

Ann Ganter's Gravatar
Ann Ganter

Friday, May, 14th, 2021

In Oxford Cowley area there is a Sainsburys and other shops there is not enough disable parking bays and the ones that are there are abused and also on the estates where disable bays are they are abused , although l report them, when they come the car has long gone. Oxford is very bad for disable drivers even Abingdon, Didcot Banbury these are a few where the bigger stores are still have trouble getting into a disable parking bay

Mike's Gravatar

Thursday, May, 20th, 2021

I thinks Sam's comment sums it all up. . They have "better things to do". I wonder what they are . It is down to money though. If we disabled folk spent lots then the tables would be turned. But I am afraid that the "better things to do" means they do not actually care if we can park or not. The problem could easily be solved if the supermarkets were to enforce it, but as there is no caring why should they. I was once asked to move my WAV from a Children's Bay by a member of the staff. They disappeared when my wife and granddaughter returned from collecting a trolley. So the question remains , how do we get supermarkets to care? Other than spending lots of money I do not know, reminding them not just of their duty of care but also of their humanity does not seem to work.