For drivers or passengers with severe mobility problems, the Blue Badge scheme offers a range of parking benefits throughout the UK.
The scheme applies to on-road parking only, and allows you to park without charge at metered or ‘pay and display’ parking bays. It is also possible for Blue Badge holders to park on yellow lines for up to three hours (except where there are other stopping restrictions in force), and there is generally an exemption from the parking time limits imposed on other vehicles.
There are certain parking spaces reserved exclusively for Blue Badge holders, and it is an offence to park a vehicle without a Blue Badge there.
Off-road parking facilities – for example, supermarket car parks – are not covered by the Blue Badge scheme, and although they will have designated disabled parking bays, there is no legal power to prevent non-disabled motorists from using them. There is however, considerable moral power, so do report abuse to the management.
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How to Apply for a Blue Badge
You can now apply online, using this link on the DirectGov website. You will be asked some questions to establish whether you should be eligible, and when you have completed the application, it will be sent to your local authority for a decision. This is also a convenient way to apply for renewal of your existing Blue Badge permit.
If you feel happier using a paper application form, contact your local authority. Generally, but not always, it is Social Services which is responsible for Blue Badge applications. It might be Highways or Customer & Exchequer Services, but whichever is the relevant department at your Council, just ask for an application pack, and they will post one out to you.
The Baywatch Campaign, which has the support of the RAC, Department of Transport, and the four big supermarket chains, monitors the situation, and campaigns to change attitudes. Their latest annual survey found around one in five disabled parking spaces being used by a non-disabled motorist: there is still clearly some way to go in changing attitudes.
Your Blue Badge can also be used when travelling around the EU and some other European countries. You apply for it from your local authority.
If you travel to London, the Blue Badge will exempt you from the Congestion Charge – but you need to apply to Transport for London (TfL), before travelling.
Telephone: 0845 900 1234 Minicom users: 020 7649 9123
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Do you qualify for a Blue Badge?
You may do if:
• you are a registered blind person
• you receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
• you use a motor vehicle supplied by a government health department
• you are a regular driver with severe disability in both arms,
making it impossible to turn a steering wheel by hand, even if it has
a turning knob
• you have a permanent and substantial disability which makes it
impossible or extremely difficult for you to walk
January 2018: Rules around eligibility for a Blue Badge are set to change, so that more people with
non-physical disabilities could benefit from easier parking. More details to follow.
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