The Blue Badge Scheme is a National scheme in the UK for people with a mobility limiting Disability so they can take advantage of parking in Disabled only parking spaces.

It is important to note that although it is a National Scheme it is administrated by local County Councils not a national body. This means that you apply to your local County Council for a Blue Badge but you can use it Nationally and it is not restricted to your county.

Who is eligible for a Blue Badge?

An individual’s eligibility for a Blue Badge is considered in terms of being ‘eligible without further assessment’ (previously known as ‘automatic’) or ‘eligible subject to further assessment’ (previously known as ‘discretionary’).

Eligible Without Further Assessment

The ‘eligible without further assessment’ criteria

People who may be issued with a badge without further assessment are those who are more than two years old and fall within one or more of the following descriptions:

1) Receives the Higher Rate of the Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance
(HRMCDLA); or
2) Receives 8 points or more under the “moving around” activity of the mobility component of
Personal Independence Payment; or
3) Is registered blind (severely sight impaired); or
4) Receives a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement (WPMS); or
5) Has been both awarded a lump sum benefit at tariffs 1-8 of the Armed Forces Compensation
Scheme and certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.

Eligible Subject to Further Assessment

The ‘eligible subject to further assessment’ criteria

People who may be issued with a badge after further assessment are those who are more than two years old and fall within one or more of the following descriptions:

1) Drives a vehicle regularly, has a severe disability in both arms and is unable to operate, or has
considerable difficulty in operating, all or some types of parking meter; or
2) Has a permanent and substantial disability that causes inability to walk or very considerable
difficulty in walking.

The important thing to note is you can not get a Blue Badge for a temporary condition such as broken bones. The issuing authority can ask you to attend a independent mobility assessment if they need to, not every case needs to be assessed but this decision is that of the issuing authority. There are further criteria for children under 3 however I have not put these on the website I they wouldn’t normally apply to children with Fibromyalgia & M.E./C.F.S.. It is up to you to provide evidence that you meet the criteria.

For more eligibility information you should read “Blue Badge – can I get one?” publication from the Department for Transport.

How to apply

You need to apply for a Blue Badge through your local County Council, due to this the application process may be slightly different from council to council. The best thing to do is enter your postcode into this gov.uk website which will give you a link to follow to your local council website. You will then need to navigate to the Blue Badge section on their site where you will find details of how to apply. There is also an eligibility checker on direct.gov.

How to use your Blue Badge

The rules around the use of your Blue Badge are complicated and lengthy. The most important thing to remember is that the only person who can use the badge is the person who it is issued to. I have heard a lot of urban myths about Blue Badges so you need to make sure you know what is true and what is not. No one else can use your badge, not even if they are doing something on your behalf. Your badge can be used in any vehicle, not just your own. You should only use it to benefit you, you must either be getting out of the vehicle to go to a destination or for the vehicle to be parked nearby for you to get to it.

You must read the guidance “The Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities” publicatiom from the Department of Transport before you start using the badge, it is your responsibility to do so.

Returning your Blue Badge

You have a responsibility to return your Blue Badge if:

1) the badge expires;
2) the badge holder is no longer eligible or, in the case of an organisational badge, the
organisation no longer exists or is no longer eligible;
3) it is a replacement badge for one that is lost or stolen and the original is found/recovered (in
this case the original badge should be returned so that it can be securely destroyed);
4) the badge is so damaged/faded that the details on it are illegible or it cannot be identified
correctly or distinguished from a forgery;
5) the badge is no longer required by the holder (e.g. where they have become confined to the house); or another valid badge is inadvertently issued to the holder by another issuing authority; or 6) the badge holder dies.

However, it should be noted that under new regulations, if an existing recipient of HRMCDLA fails to score 8 points or more under the ‘Moving Around’ mobility component of PIP, legislation requires that they should be allowed to retain their current badge until it expires.

It should be noted that the badge remains the property of the issuing local authority which has powers to withdraw the badge in some circumstances.

Frequently asked Questions

What it the maximum time a Blue Badge can be issued for?

Blue Badges can be issued for a maximum of three years. If you eligibility is based on another benefit award then you Blue Badge will be issued until the expiry date of the benefit or 3 years which ever comes soonest. If the badge is issued under the “Children Under Three” criteria it will expire on the child’s third birthday.

Can I appeal if I have been refused a Blue Badge?

Local Authorities are encouraged to have some form of appeals process but they are not required to do so. Usually you can not appeal to another body however under specific circumstances the matter could be put to the Local Government Ombudsman or The Secretary of Sate but its a little complicated to explain. You should read the guidance issued to Local Authorities by The Government for more information. They should however tell you the reasons for refusal.

Can I get a new badge if mine is lost or stolen?

You can, you would need to report the matter to the Local Authority who issued the badge and in the case of it being stolen you need to report the matter to the Police first.

How do I find a place to park with a Blue Badge?

It is worth getting to know your local Disabled parking facilities near common destinations, remember that you can park on yellow lines in certain circumstances. You can also use the facility here to check for Disabled Parking by Postcode.

Can I get a Blue Badge for a temporary problem with my mobility like broken bones?

No you can not, unfortunately this scheme is only available for people with permanent problems and there is no provision do Blue Badges for people with temporary restrictions.

The Law

There is a lot of legislation behind the Blue Badge scheme so I have not linked into to each Act as usual however a list of legislation follows:

The disabled persons’ parking badge scheme came into operation on 1 December 1971 by means of Regulations made under Section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (Badges for display on motor vehicles used by disabled persons).

The scheme as it currently stands is governed by the following Regulations:
the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/682);
the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2000
(SI 2000/1507);
the Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Exemptions for Disabled Persons) (England) Regulations
2000 (SI 2000/693);
the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2007
(SI 2007/2531);
the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations
2007 (SI 2007/2600);
the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) (Amendment Regulations 2011
(SI 2011/1307).
the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations
2011 (SI 2011/2675)

Other relevant legislation:
Section 21A (Recognition of badges issued outside Great Britain) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.
Sections 115 (Mishandling of parking documents and related offences), 117 (Wrongful use of disabled person’s badge) and 142(1)(General interpretation of Act) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (provides powers to tackle parking related abuse of the scheme).

All of the above Statutory Instruments (and the Acts) can also be viewed on the website of the Office of Public Sector Information at www.opsi.gov.uk.

Links

Blue Badge – can I get one?” publication from the Department for Transport
Find my local County Council service on gov.uk
Blue Badge eligibility checker on direct.gov
The Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities” publication from the Department of Transport
Guidance about the Blue Badge scheme issued to Local Authorities by The Government
Find Disabled Parking by Postcode service from gov.uk