Sainsbury’s starts fining bay abusers across the UK


Sainsbury’s has become the second of the big four supermarket chains to introduce widespread fines for shoppers who abuse accessible parking spaces.
The retail giant has set up a squad of uniformed enforcers on motorbikes who will patrol about 400 of its 500 carparks across the UK, and issue £50 fines to vehicles using accessible bays without displaying a blue badge.
They will also fine those misusing “parent and child” spaces.
The scheme is running at all Sainsbury’s carparks that are not council-controlled or part of retail parks. Profits will be donated to Mencap.
Sainsbury’s said bay abuse was one of its top five causes of customer complaints.
A trial of the scheme last year in and around London led to a “significant decrease” in customer complaints, and bay availability improving by about 70 per cent.
Helen Smith, director of policy and campaigns for the disabled motorists’ charity Mobilise, said she was “delighted” at Sainsbury’s move.
She said: “Mobilise has been campaigning for years to start fining these people as we think it’s the only way to stop the problem.”
A survey by the Baywatch campaign – Mobilise, Disability Now magazine and the British Polio Fellowship – found in 2007 that more than one in five supermarket bays were still being abused.
Following the survey, Asda became the first chain to introduce widespread financial penalties – in January 2008 – with a £60 fine scheme across 300 of its 342 stores, with proceeds donated to charity.
Asda said the store donated £69,000 of fines revenue during 2008.
A small survey by Disability Now in April 2008 suggested abuse dropped from 23 per cent to about three per cent in Asda’s carparks after the fines were introduced.
A Tesco spokesman said its stores introduce fining “at a local level” if they find a problem, but only as a “last resort”.
Other methods of dealing with misuse include patrols, PA announcements and working with local groups. He said the issue was one they “take seriously”.
A Morrisons spokeswoman said its staff are “vigilant” at monitoring their carparks and issue verbal warnings if cars are parked “inappropriately”.
She added: “Our records show our current system to be working well. However, we will continue to monitor customer feedback going forward.”
To take part in this September’s Baywatch survey of supermarket bay abuse, visit
27 July 2009