-A A +A
Select color visibility that suits you Basic theme Dark theme Darker theme Text only

Extension of Blue Badge Scheme from August 2019 to include those with hidden disabilities

18 June 2019

People with "hidden disabilities" including autism and mental health problems are set for a major boost when they are allowed to apply for blue parking badges.

The government has announced, following a consultation last summer, that they will be extending their Blue Badge Scheme from 30 August 2019 to include those with hidden disabilities. At the same time, they will also launch a review into the fraudulent use of Blue Badges. Blue Badge fraud has been estimated to have risen by 45% in just the past twelve months, and 600% since 2013. The review aims to increase public understanding and ensure Blue Badges are used correctly.

The new Blue Badge scheme criteria will extend eligibility to people who:

  • cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety, or that of any other person
  • cannot undertake a journey without it causing them considerable psychological distress
  • have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking).

 Launching the initiatives, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said "As a society we don’t do enough for people with hidden disabilities. I hope this change to Blue Badge guidance will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

To help councils with the expected increase in applications, the department has agreed with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to provide £1.7 million in the first year of the programme. A task group will also be created to assist councils to consistently enforce correct Blue Badge usage.

At the same time as the extension of the scheme, the Government will also launch a review into the fraudulent use of Blue Badges. Blue Badge fraud has been estimated to have risen by 45% in just the past twelve months, and 600% since 2013. The review aims to increase public understanding and ensure Blue Badges are used correctly.

Sue Bott, Disability Rights UK’s Head of Policy, said “We are fully in support of this change, and blue badge holders will welcome the task force looking at enforcement.  Time and time again we see instances of blue badge spaces being abused by people who don’t need them, which leaves disabled people unable to get out and about.  Effective enforcement will be key to making the scheme work for all blue badge holders.”

Further information on the announcement, together with a short, explanatory animation, can be accessed here.