The council’s main opposition Labour Group reaffirms its opposition to the ruling Lib Dem-Green Council’s ban on Blue Badge holders accessing the centre of York.
The Lib Dem-Green Council Executive’s decision to ban Blue Badge Holders from the city centre, whilst openly acknowledging in its decision making report that the new restrictions would prevent many disabled people from being able to access goods and services, is an unacceptable breach of their human rights. We believe that the City of York Council has directly discriminated against disabled people and in so doing further disabled them.
York Labour Councillors are committed to public safety and take the threat of terrorist attack seriously. According to North Yorkshire Police, a local authority has a duty to risk assess the likelihood and outcome of such an attack and take the necessary protective measures. We have seen no evidence that City of York Council risk assessed the threat of a terrorist attack to the area from which Blue Badge Holders have been banned. There have been no risk assessments that prioritise one part of the city for protection over any other.
There is no evidence that Blue Badge Holders present a greater risk to the public than other vehicles that require access to support the functioning of the city centre. Hostile vehicle mitigation measures can be put in place while maintaining disabled people’s access to the city centre. This has been successfully managed in other local authorities.
This month marks the five year anniversary of York becoming a Human Rights City. The Lib Dem-Green Council Executive’s decision on city centre access has seriously undermined this status and calls into question the commitment York made to incorporate a human rights approach into all the policies it adopts, and the decisions it takes.
As City of York Council’s main opposition the Labour Group applauds the work of York’s disability rights organisations including York Accessibility Action, York Disability Rights Forum, My Sight York, York Sight Loss Council and York Human Rights City Network and other local community organisations seeking to overturn this discriminatory decision, and we want to continue to work with them towards achieving this goal.
If elected in May 2023 we will put right this wrong and overturn the Blue Badge holder access ban.