Supermarket parking limit fines condemned as discriminatory

March 2, 2010

Supermarkets which impose strict parking time limits have been criticised for failing to make reasonable adjustments to disabled customers. Private firms run some of the car parks belonging to big supermarkets Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, and impose penalty charges for customers who overstay, often identified by automatic number plate recognition. Campaigners have condemned these policies for not making sufficient allowances for disabled people.

As part of a BBC Breakfast investigation, 200 large supermarkets from the four main chains were contacted. Of the 124 that imposed parking time limits, about two-thirds said they did not give disabled people any extra time to shop. Neil Coyle, from the charity Disability Alliance, said: ‘Supermarkets need to acknowledge there is a problem, and secondly, very quickly, they need to ensure their car parking procedures conform with the law.’

Keith Doyle from the BBC said that all four supermarket chains have said they will review their policies on disabled parking. He said: ‘If you do need extra time, the advice is to go to customer services in the supermarkets. They have all told us they will make allowances, they will review their policies, so give customer services your registration number and hopefully you won’t get a ticket.’

The investigation follows moves to improve the system for designated accessible parking spaces in Scotland and Wales, as reported in the December 2009 and January 2010 Access Newsletters.