Blue Badge eligibility criteria changes could cause parking chaos

The government has recently announced that it will be extending the Blue Badge eligibility criteria to include people with ‘hidden disabilities’ such as dementia, autism and a number of mental health conditions. The change which is due to be introduced early next year will be the biggest overhaul of the scheme since it was introduced in the early 1970s. From next year the eligibility criteria will cover those who:

  • “Cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable physiological distress”
  • “Cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)”
  • “Have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking)”

These changes to the Blue Badge eligibility criteria have come following an eight week consultation earlier in 2018. DMUK took part in the consultation and raised concerns over the possible effect the expansion would have on already limited disabled parking. DMUK urged the Department for Transport (DfT) to be realistic in its thinking. Just extending the criteria will not necessarily mean that more disabled people will benefit. Actually this change may have disastrous consequences for all Blue Badge holders, especially wheelchair users, as there is simply not enough parking to meet demand and concessions could soon disappear because of increased numbers.

In light of this recent extension DMUK would like to see the government put more pressure on local authorities to enforce the scheme to make sure it benefits genuine Blue Badge holders and increase provision of disabled parking bays. The charity is very concerned that without adequate enforcement and more provision the integrity of the scheme will be undermined and of no benefit to any disabled person.

DMUK encourages all of our members to write to their MP to ask them how abuse of the scheme and provision of spaces is going to be addressed in their local area. We have put together a template letter, which you can be personalised, available to download below as well as our press release.

Template Letter to your MP 

DMUK press release

Check if you are eligible for a Blue Badge