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Blue badge scheme

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Disability Rights UK Factsheet F29

1 What is the Blue Badge scheme?

If you have problems with walking or other mobility problems you may be able to get a Blue Badge to enable you to park your car near shops and other places you wish to visit.

2 What are the rules?

You qualify automatically for a Blue Badge if you are aged two or over and one of the following applies:

  • You are registered blind.
  • You get the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA).
  • You live in England and have been awarded 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity of personal independence payment (PIP).
  • You live in Scotland or Wales and have been awarded 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity or 12 points in the ‘planning and following journeys activity’ of PIP.
  • You live in Scotland, were previously on the higher rate mobility component of DLA and subsequently failed a PIP re-assessment. To qualify in this case, you must have asked for a mandatory reconsideration of the decision or your previous DLA award must have been indefinite. A Blue Badge in this case will be valid for one year.
  • You get war pensioners’ mobility supplement.
  • You have received a lump sum payment from the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation scheme (within tariff levels 1-8). In Wales, for this to apply, either the DWP needs to accept that you have a permanent and substantial disability that causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking, or you have sustained a permanent mental disorder causing severe functional limitation or restriction.
  • You live in Wales and have a mental disorder which means you are unable to follow the route of a familiar journey without the assistance of another person.

You may also qualify for a Blue Badge by being assessed by your local authority if you are aged two or over and one of the following applies:

  • You have a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
  • You drive regularly, have a severe disability in both arms and are unable to operate, or have considerable difficulty operating, all or some types of parking meter.
  • You live in Scotland and you are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk because of a temporary but substantial disability which is likely to last for at least 12 months but less than 3 years.
  • You live in Wales and are unable to walk or have considerable difficulty walking because of a temporary but substantial disability which is likely to last for at least 12 months.

There are also special rules if you have a child under the age of three. You can get a Blue Badge if your child has a specific medical condition which means they:

  • must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around with the child without great difficulty; and/or
  • need to be kept near a motor vehicle at all times so that they can, if necessary, be treated in the vehicle or quickly driven to a place where they can be treated.

Bulky medical equipment can include ventilators, suction machines, feed pumps, parenteral equipment, syringe drivers, oxygen administration equipment, continual oxygen saturation monitoring equipment and casts and associated medical equipment for the correction of hip dysplasia.

3 Where does the Blue Badge scheme operate?

The Blue Badge scheme operates all over the United Kingdom (UK) but there are local differences with the operation of the scheme in certain London boroughs and other large towns or cities in the UK. In Northern Ireland, the scheme applies to on-street parking but you can also get a ‘white badge’ to access pedestrian zones. For more information, see the Department for Infrastructure website at www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/permit-access-pedestrian-zone-white-badge

Using your Blue Badge in Europe

The Blue Badge is recognised in all European countries and allows you to make use of the same concessions that the country you are in allows its own citizens with a disability. The parking concessions vary from country to county. The AA has produced a leaflet outlining the allowances for the different EU countries and is available at www.theaa.com/public_affairs/reports/blue_badge_abroad.pdf

4 How to apply

Applications are processed by local authorities, or the Blue Badge Unit in Northern Ireland (0300 200 7818). In England, you may be charged a statutory maximum fee of £10; in Scotland, up to £20; in Northern Ireland the fee is £10; in Wales it is free of charge. The badge lasts up to three years. You can apply online at www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge if you live in England or Wales, or www.mygov.scot/apply-blue-badge/ if you live in Scotland.

Information about the blue badge scheme in Northern Ireland is available at the NI Direct website at http://tinyurl.com/jgat854.

5 Exemption from the congestion charge

If you hold a valid Blue Badge, you can apply for exemption from the congestion charge in London by paying a £10 administration fee.

You can register up to two vehicles that you would normally use to travel within the charging zone. This could be your own vehicle, or one you travel in.

For more information call 0343 222 2222 or visit https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge/discounts-and-exemptions

6 Appeals

If your local authority refuses to issue you with a Blue Badge, you have no formal right of appeal. As many authorities have internal procedures for dealing with appeals, it is worth writing to request a review.

In Scotland there is a formal review process. If a local authority decides that you do not qualify, you can request a review of the decision within 28 days of receiving it.

7 Where can I get more help or information?

This factsheet is a basic overview of the Blue Badge scheme. You can find out more about disability, mobility and transport in our Disability Rights Handbook. This and all our other publications are available from our shop at https://crm.disabilityrightsuk.org/. You can also place orders by contacting Disability Rights UK.

You can get help and information at your local advice centre, such as Citizens Advice. You can get more information about where to get personal advice from our Factsheet F15 - Getting advice. All our factsheets are free to download on our website at disabilityrightsuk.org.

There is information about the Blue Badge scheme at www.gov.uk/blue-badge-scheme-information-council.

The Department for Transport has produced The Blue Badge Scheme Local Authority Guidance (England) available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-blue-badge-scheme-local-authority-guidance-england.

Ian Greaves
13 April 2017