Campaigners have welcomed the decision to install what is believed to be the country’s first accessible parking bay for disabled people who need to recharge their electric vehicles.
Only holders of blue parking badges who also need to recharge their electric vehicles will be allowed to use the space in the new NCP car park in Stanley Street, Salford.
The idea came following a suggestion from disabled campaigner Helen Dolphin, and Libbie Bilyard, co-founders of the People’s Parking scheme.
Dolphin, an independent mobility consultant and herself a disabled driver, came up with the idea when looking at how to make improvements to their car park accreditation scheme, which already judges services on their provision of electric charging points.
She said: “I am only too aware of the increasing growth of electric vehicles and although I don’t have an electric vehicle myself, I knew that as a disabled person I would struggle to get out of my car in a standard sized bay.
“I therefore wanted to encourage car park operators to consider the needs of electric vehicle owners who are disabled and I’m absolutely delighted that NCP have installed a dual bay in their new car park.”
The scheme aims to improve car parks by highlighting those with facilities for disabled people, parents, commuters, cyclists and motorcyclists, and for electric and wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and those that can show they have good signage and pedestrian routes, are well-lit, clean and well-managed.
Sean Fenney, NCP’s head of operations for Manchester, said: “Normally we have to work within the limitations of the estate that we currently have, so when we have a new-build car park it’s always a great opportunity to be able to make the space really work for all our customers.
“We were really pleased to be able to add our first dual electric charging bay for our disabled customers, as we expect that to be a very real need in the near future.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) welcomed the move by NCP.
A DfT spokesperson said: “We welcome measures that support the use of electric vehicles and are committed to ensuring that everyone in our society enjoys the same opportunities to travel.
“Our Road to Zero strategy, combined with £1.5 billion of investment in ultra-low emission vehicles, sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero emission revolution.”
Motability currently offers three electric models to lease through the disabled people’s vehicle scheme, with 202 customers with electric vehicles at the end of December.
A Motability spokesperson said: “The Motability scheme is currently in discussions with a number of other manufacturers to be able to supply full battery electric vehicles on the scheme in the future.
“Motability supports initiatives, such as People’s Parking, in helping to improve facilities for disabled people.”
News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com