Man who started petition calling for blue badge holders to be exempt from LTNs invited to Parliament

An ex-musician who created a petition calling on the Government to enforce exemptions for blue badge holders across all Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) in the UK was invited to Parliament yesterday. 

Mike Spenser, 76, of Hamilton Road, West Norwood, started the petition calling for “potentially life-saving” changes after he received a series of penalty charge notice (PCN) fines for mistakenly driving through multiple LTNs.

Mr Spenser, former frontman for rock band The Cannibals, said the fines racked up to a total of almost £1,000 after he struggled to appeal them with Lambeth council.

He claimed the appeal number on his fine went through to a town hall in Manchester and the disabled helpline link went to a blocked page. As a result, Mr Spenser said he has suffered serious mental health problems.

Marsha De Cordova MP presents Mr Spenser’s petition to the committee during yesterday’s debate (Picture: Parliament UK)

He said: “I’ve put the petition to the Government because councils are all over the place – they just can’t do this.”

Yesterday, he visited Parliament to watch Marsha De Cordova, MP for Battersea, present his petition to the petition committee.

Petition debates are general debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government ministers. The debates do not end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. 

During the debate, Ms De Cordova said: “Increased travel times aren’t just mild inconveniences, as many disabled people find commuting far more exhausting.

“Worryingly, travel times were also linked to increased costs in terms of petrol and taxi fares, adding again to the financial burden on disabled people with the potential to prevent them from travelling, or worse, keeping them trapped in their homes.”

Mike Spenser in Parliament yesterday (Picture: Mike Spenser)

Mr Spenser said the debate made him feel as though his voice had finally been heard.

He said: “There was no vote or decision but I’ve made a crack in the system.”

In Lambeth, where Mr Spenser lives, the council introduced a single LTN exemption per blue badge holder which they need to register for themselves.

The scheme aims to encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transport to tackle the climate emergency through the use of barriers such as bollards and planters, as well as road signs and CCTV cameras.

Mr Spenser said: “I can’t walk and cycle. If you have mobility issues you can’t go to the same places as other people. It’s a discriminatory policy.”

Mr Spenser’s mobility is severely limited, he suffers from arthritis and is in recovery from a hip replacement and a broken back. 

He said: “Exempting disabled people from LTNs would help them get to wherever they need to get to quicker and it could be life-saving.

“If you have asthma and leave your puffer at home, or you’re diabetic and you can feel a shock coming on, you can get fined for getting home the quickest way.”

A Lambeth council spokesman said: “During the development of LTNs we introduced blue badge exemptions in recognition of need and community feedback.

“The majority of blue badge holders access their home addresses and essential services via a single route, so the one filter dispensation means there is a minimal impact for them from the scheme.

“As people embrace these changes over time, as we have seen in other LTNs, those that have no choice but to drive will be able to do so more easily.”

Mr Spenser’s petition can be found here.

Pictured top: Mike Spencer in Parliament yesterday (Picture: Mike Spencer)

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