The BBC has defended Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May following criticism that they parked cars in disabled bays during a recent episode of the motoring show.
The pair were trying out electric cars and were driving them to Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, when they pulled up in spaces reserved for disabled people to discuss the merits of the cars.
The pair laughed about the costs of the cars and the electric motors and joked about the luggage space and how electric cars had to be fitted with special windscreen wipers.
Jim Rawlings, of Disabled Motoring UK, said he was sure that Clarkson ‘wouldn’t have cared’ about parking up in a disabled bay.
He said: “The abuse of non-disabled people parking in disabled bays is rife, and with people like Jeremy Clarkson and James May doing this other motorists will just think they can just park wherever they like.
“People who are patently not disabled, like Clarkson and May, obviously didn’t have a passing care that a disabled person might have needed those spaces.
“I’m sure Jeremy Clarkson especially would not feel contrite about parking in a disabled bay – it shows a lack of feeling and care and a total lack of compassion.”
In the same episode Richard Hammond met a team of disabled soldiers who had been severely injured in Afghanistan as they took part in a cross-country racing in 4×4 cars for the Dakar Rally.
A Top Gear spokesman said: “Top Gear does not condone the misuse of disabled parking bays. The programme had permission from the owners of the car park to use the bays for a short period of time to enable filming to take place unhindered, and members of the production team were with the cars at all times.
“There were other disabled spaces available, and of course had anyone needed to park in one of the spaces occupied by Top Gear, we would have moved immediately.”