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Can I apply for a blue badge?

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What is the blue badge scheme?

The Blue Badge scheme exists to help people with mobility issues and disabilities. People who are eligible for the Blue Badge are allowed to park more closely to their destination than non-badge holders, allowing them to access facilities more easily. The scheme is national and offers protected street parking for holders of the badge, whether they are driving or a passenger. When a person has the badge, they can park freely in a range of places, including on yellow lines in certain circumstances.

The eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge parking scheme recognise that disabilities can be visible or hidden, and the scheme offers a lifeline for people with disabilities and conditions that might otherwise prevent them from living their lives independently and confidently.

 

Who is eligible for a blue badge?

The government publishes a detailed list of eligibility criteria, but the main points are that the scheme is open to:

  • Individuals with disabilities or conditions that prevent them from undertaking a journey without risking significant harm to their own health and safety, or that of others
  • Individuals who cannot undertake journeys without the risk of severe psychological distress
  • Individuals who struggle to walk – either physically or mentally

Some people will be automatically entitled to a blue badge, such as those who are registered blind or receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). If you’re applying for the badge on the grounds of struggling to walk, the rules are less hard and fast, with each individual application being reviewed on a merit basis by the local authority. This may include an assessment with an occupational therapist or physiotherapist as part of the application process.

However, even if you’re not automatically eligible, you can still apply for a blue badge if you have difficulty walking or travelling, as your application may be granted.

You can find more information about eligibility for the blue badge scheme on the Citizen’s Advice website.

 

Can children get a blue badge?

Parents of children under the age of three can apply for a blue badge on their behalf. Applications which may be granted include those for children who need to travel with bulky medical equipment, or who need to be close to their vehicle because of the risk of immediate need for treatment.

 

Can organisations get a blue badge?

Additionally, organisations that are responsible for driving individuals who fit the criteria above can also apply for the badges under a special provision of the scheme. Examples include care homes, social services departments, and hospices.

 

Changes to the blue badge scheme

The Blue Badge parking scheme has recently undergone a significant shake-up which is designed to better include people with ‘hidden’ disabilities.

The badges are now available to certain people who have conditions such as anxiety or autism. The move comes after years of campaigning by charities and individuals who argue that those with some hidden disabilities struggle with walking longer distances or taking transport in the same way that those with physical disabilities do and may find themselves disadvantaged without preferential parking.

The blue badge scheme has changed, so it's no longer just for those in wheelchairs or with walking difficulties
The blue badge scheme has changed, so it’s no longer just for those in wheelchairs or with walking difficulties

 

Are there any areas in England which aren’t covered by the blue badge scheme?

Yes, there are some parts of central London which are exempt from the Blue Badge scheme. These include the Cities of London and Westminster, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and areas of Camden.

Additionally, the scheme concessions don’t apply to car parks which are located off-street in places such as hospitals and supermarkets. They also don’t apply at private car parks, such as those found in city centres and airports. However, many of these places apply their own concessions for blue badge holders, so you may still find free parking on many private car parks.

 

How to apply for a blue badge

Applications should be made to the local authority who will issue the badge. Alternatively, blue badge application forms can be downloaded from the Gov UK website. The badge itself is two-sided and a photo identification badge with details of the holder’s name. The badge must always be clearly displayed when used and must never be transferred to another driver or passenger who isn’t eligible under the scheme. Details on use are provided when the badge is issued. There are fines of up to £1000 applicable if the badge is misused. The badge must also be returned if the holder’s circumstances change and they would no longer be eligible.

 

Please note that this content was correct at time of publication (28.04.2021). From time to time, changes in regulation may impact the accuracy of the information provided.

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