Almost 175,000 fines were handed out for breaking the laws around Blue Badge parking permits in 2020.
The permits are issued to people with disabilities and allow holders to park for free and in areas where other drivers are not allowed. However there are concerns of widespread abuse of the system.
Fines for their misuse can reach £1,000 and offences range from displaying an invalid badge to using a stolen badge or parking in a disabled parking bay without using a Blue Badge.
Data obtained via a Freedom of Information request has revealed that around the UK, 174,445 penalty charge notices (PCN) were issued in 2020 for such offences, as well as use of a Blue Badge by an unauthorised person.
The figures, obtained by USwitch also showed the towns and cities with the most offenders, with Milton Keynes topping the list of shame. A total of 5,962 fines were handed out in the Buckinghamshire city last year, just ahead of Manchester (5,799) and Leeds (4,573).
Birmingham and Colchester, with 4,069 and 3,879 respectively completed the top five list.
In total, the 10 cities with the worst offending levels accounted for nearly 40,000 of all fines, with the 10 worst London boroughs recording a further 26,000.
In contrast, Fenland District Council issued a single PCN and only 16 were handed out by Oxford City Council for Blue Badge-related offences.
Rules can vary between council areas but Blue Badges generally allow holders to park in designated disabled bays, stop for free in pay and display zones for as long as they need and to stop on yellow lines for up to three hours in some circumstances.
However, the council figures show tens of thousands of drivers are taking advantage of these special rights when they aren’t entitled. Not only does misusing a badge or space put drivers at risk of a fine but it also inconveniences those with a valid badge or genuine need of a space closer to their destination.
Joel Kempson, car insurance expert at Uswitch.com commented: “Drivers who abuse the Blue Badge policy could face a fine of up to £1,000. Yet despite the risk of hefty penalties, it’s clear the law is disregarded by many motorists risking large fines to park for free or closer to their destination.”