In a move designed to ensure equal consideration is given to mental and physical health conditions when people apply for a blue disabled parking badge, the government is reviewing how the scheme works for those with hidden disabilities.
Concerned that there are variations on how the rules and guidance notes are interpreted across the country, the Department for Transport (DfT) is determined that those with the greatest need have access to a blue badge.
To achieve this, the DfT is asking that people take part in a consultation that is running until 18 March. Details can be found at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/blue-badge-disabled-parking-scheme-eligibility-review
The consultation document discusses the key issues involved, and presents ideas for improving the rules. The challenge will be to ensure a scheme that is both sustainable and works for all who are eligible for it, whatever their disability.
Introduced in 1970, the blue-badge scheme enables 2.4 million disabled people to retain their independence by enabling them to park close to where they need to go without charge and, in most cases, without time limit in the on-street parking environment. The scheme does not apply to off-street car parks, although car park operators tend to recognise the badge as a passport to their disabled parking facilities.
Eligibility for a blue badge is not based on the type of disability. People with physical, mental or cognitive conditions can receive a badge if they meet the qualifying criteria.
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care
“This is an important issue and I’d urge anyone who has, or is applying for, a blue badge – plus affected friends and family members – to let their opinions be known by taking part in the most important consultation on the scheme in years.
“We in Croydon are confident that we apply the rules correctly and that anyone who’s eligible is issued with a blue badge. If this consultation, as is hoped, helps to dispel any grey areas that could be misinterpreted because the wording isn’t crystal clear, that can only be for the good.
“For the scheme to be fair and consistent in spirit and law, we need to ensure that people who may be able to walk, but who have great difficulty in getting from the vehicle to their destination because of a non-physical disability, also have access to badges.”