Sedgefield asbestosis sufferer devastated after council turns down blue badge application

The Northern Echo: ILL HEALTH: Owen Jackson, turned down for a disabled parking badge despite his severe asbestosis and emphysema. PICTURE: Stuart Boulton. ILL HEALTH: Owen Jackson, turned down for a disabled parking badge despite his severe asbestosis and emphysema. PICTURE: Stuart Boulton.

A MAN suffering from two debilitating lung conditions has accused a council of taking away his independence after his application for a disabled parking badge was refused.

Owen Jackson, of Sedgefield, County Durham, said he was devastated when Durham County Council turned down his application for a blue badge earlier this year.

The 56-year-old, who suffers from asbestosis and emphysema, was told he did not meet the criteria, as he regularly walks to shops and other amenities in his hometown.

However, Mr Jackson said the assessor had failed to appreciate the impact walking has on his body, which can include heart palpitations, exhaustion, coughing fits and dizziness.

Last month, he appealed the decision but was unsuccessful, despite including a letter from a respiratory specialist who confirmed the “disabling nature” of his conditions.

Mr Jackson said: “I have never denied my ability to walk the prescribed distance; in fact I walk as a matter of course to try and maintain my lung capacity while I am able to. After I have carried out my daily walk I am fatigued for the rest of the day.”

He said public transport was impossible, adding: “As a result I can’t visit any town centre, as the walk from the car park is generally too far away from the shops. I also have to consider the energy spent walking around the shops and getting back to the car.”

Mr Jackson, a former heating engineer, believes exposure to asbestos in the 1970s and dusty building sites caused the incurable and degenerative lung diseases.

He said: “I have worked hard and paid taxes all of my life but now that I need some help I am forced to fight for it.

“They have taken away my independence at a time when I should be enjoying life while I still can.”

Ken Pattison, Durham County Council’s strategic manager for service support in children and adults services, said: “We would not comment on an individual’s personal circumstances. However, all Blue Badge applications are considered in line with Department for Transport Guidance.

“Where necessary, this includes carrying out a clinical mobility assessment by an occupational therapist to assess inability to walk or to determine if an applicant has very considerable difficulty in walking.

“We will, of course, reconsider any application if there is a subsequent change in the applicant’s mobility problems or if any further information is provided by the applicant.”

Comments (3)

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7:56am Fri 30 May 14

Davy Crocket says...

Good people are denied them whereas forgers are getting away scot free.
Good people are denied them whereas forgers are getting away scot free. Davy Crocket
  • Score: 11

11:05am Fri 30 May 14

babsnste says...

I think blue badges should only be given to people that find it hard to walk a couple of 100 yards. I agree for them to park near the shops but I do think they should pay to park the same as everyone else.
I think blue badges should only be given to people that find it hard to walk a couple of 100 yards. I agree for them to park near the shops but I do think they should pay to park the same as everyone else. babsnste
  • Score: 7

2:33pm Fri 30 May 14

Madadrian says...

babsnste wrote:
I think blue badges should only be given to people that find it hard to walk a couple of 100 yards. I agree for them to park near the shops but I do think they should pay to park the same as everyone else.
Blue badges are reserved for people who cannot walk more than 50 metres let alone 200 yards. That excludes many such as this man and myself who can walk more than 50 metres but have trouble doing so up banks or carrying shopping or indeed walking more than a hundred yards without taking a rest.

The regulation was brought in by the last labour government after tabloid press outbursts about 'blue badge cheats'. It has not solved the probelm of cheating because most cheating is done by those who have a blue badge legitimately for ferrying a family member around.
[quote][p][bold]babsnste[/bold] wrote: I think blue badges should only be given to people that find it hard to walk a couple of 100 yards. I agree for them to park near the shops but I do think they should pay to park the same as everyone else.[/p][/quote]Blue badges are reserved for people who cannot walk more than 50 metres let alone 200 yards. That excludes many such as this man and myself who can walk more than 50 metres but have trouble doing so up banks or carrying shopping or indeed walking more than a hundred yards without taking a rest. The regulation was brought in by the last labour government after tabloid press outbursts about 'blue badge cheats'. It has not solved the probelm of cheating because most cheating is done by those who have a blue badge legitimately for ferrying a family member around. Madadrian
  • Score: 3

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