News & Features

Blue Badge eligibility criteria changes come into effect in August

Posted in General News on Monday, May 20th, 2019

It has been confirmed that changes to the eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge scheme will come into effect on 30th August 2019.

Following a consultation in 2018 the government 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 new legislation has now been confirmed and after the 30th August 2019 people with ‘hidden’ disabilities will find it easier to obtain a Blue Badge.

From this date the assessed criteria will now be that a person who has been certified by an expert assessor as having an enduring and substantial disability which causes them, during the course of a journey, to—

  • be unable to walk;
  • experience very considerable difficulty whilst walking, which may include very considerable psychological distress; or
  • be at risk of serious harm when walking; or pose, when walking, a risk of serious harm to any other person;

The legislation also removes the requirement of an ‘independent mobility assessor’ and is replaced by the term ‘expert assessor’

DMUK took part in the consultation in 2018 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.

Many organisations have welcomed this change. There is no argument that people with hidden disabilities will benefit from having a Blue Badge and DMUK also supports this. However, the increase in demand may undermine the entire scheme and render it not fit for purpose. The end result may mean it will let down the people it was originally intended to help as well as disabled people with hidden disabilities.

DMUK advised the DfT to consider proper enforcement of the scheme before it looked to extend the scheme. The charity predicts that when number of Blue Badge holders increases from August 2019 we will be contacted more and more by disabled people who find their Blue Badge completely meaningless as they will be unable to find adequate parking because it will be so oversubscribed.

We implore all local authorities and private parking operators to prepare for the change properly, review their disabled parking provision and stress the importance that they all enforce disabled parking properly so that these bays are kept free only for genuine Blue Badge holders. If this is not achieved the Blue Badge scheme could soon lose all of its integrity.  

DMUK CEO, Graham Footer commented: “DMUK works to support the mobility of disabled people and there is no dispute that people with certain mental health conditions and cognitive disabilities could benefit from having a Blue Badge. However, the charity is very concerned that from August onwards numbers of Blue Badge holders will dramatically increase which will put more pressure on limited disabled parking which is poorly enforced and in some areas of the country not enforced at all. We are asking that all local authorities and private operators review their disabled parking provision now, before the change comes into force to make sure that they can manage increased demand.”

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Kimberley Bradbury's Gravatar
Kimberley Bradbury

Thursday, May, 16th, 2019

I challenged someone recently who was parked in a disabled bay, no blue badge. She just said to me that some disabilities are in invisible as she smiled and got in the car. If this is what we will now be up against, we might as well scrap the disabled bays now as if you are genuinely disabled you probably won't be able to get in a bay anyway!

David's Gravatar

Wednesday, May, 29th, 2019

Apart from insufficient disabled bays to meet existing requirements, never mind increased demand, a major problem is misuse by badgeholders. I've been blocked in on many occasions by people parking over the hatched markings which exist to allow wheelchair access and wide door opening. Selfish people who don't have that need just park as it suits them. Shame on the Government for not listening to the very real concerns expressed by DMUK.

Martin Kettrick's Gravatar
Martin Kettrick

Wednesday, May, 29th, 2019

I have thought a great deal about how best to enforce the misuse of the Blue Badge scheme and it's difficult unless you have someone in authority to check individuals badges, I welcome that day!!! - When was the last time anyone asked you to show them the picture on your Badge - in almost 40yrs as a paraplegic I've never been asked once. I would gladly show mine in return for a free token or ticket to exit the car park. The rules to enforce abuse of the scheme are already in place (Perhaps not strong enough) it's just simply not enforced because it's probably too expensive to do so. Introducing equality and disability discrimination legislation rights etc is easy but without fully funded enforcement procedures "IT'S USELESS". Sadly if you wait for good will you'll wait for ever.

John's Gravatar

Thursday, May, 30th, 2019

I think we can all agree about the injustices concerning the Blue Badge. The shoppers who uses the disabled badge holders badge, for free parking; but worse takes the parking space. What I have noticed in Kent are the shared signs are now being introduced between Disabled spaces and Parents. I have had to go home because that's one battle Disabled persons will not win. Would you ask a mother to give up that space while she is dealing with the running away and child and the crying one she's trying to put in it's wheelchair. Over the years their have been increased numbers of what I would gladly swap for, supposedly Disabled persons at concerts using wheelchair spaces. Like the second coming of Christ the miraculous recovery when the music starts up dancing swigging back the gin and Tonic's with there carer, while we all whisper about how disgusting it is I have seen them up dancing the night away and first out when the music stops. What's forgotten is that is a disabled ticket gone, never get that chance to see that artist again, yet they could have sat any where. Then theirs the Flight scenario. They need special assistance to get on the plane, yet when those doors open, out comes the hand luggage and into the taxi before the ambilift arrives. When you mention it to the cabin crew they say theirs nothing they can do about it. What chance do we stand. Just get rid of the Blue Badge it might stop me getting so wound up and give my poor wife a rest. Happy days. John C5-C6

Midlands lady's Gravatar
Midlands lady

Thursday, May, 30th, 2019

My boyfriend is a full time wheelchair user (unable to walk or stand) and we are both concerned about the impact of the new legislation on the availability of already scare disabled parking bays. As others have said, a lot of the general public just don’t seem to understand the logistical need for a an accessible space with a hatched area next to it when you are a wheelchair user. If all the disabled bays are full, my boyfriend can’t just say “oh well, never mind, I’ll go and park elsewhere”. He physically can’t get out of the car in a regular parking space. We understand the needs of people with hidden disabilities and how parking close to the shops etc., may benefit them - but they do have the option to use other spaces if all the disabled ones are full. Wheelchair users do not. No spaces = no access = loss of independence. It shouldn’t be this way. We welcome stricter enforcement of blue badge use in parking bays and spaces for wheelchair users only (if possible). Make some spaces further away from the shops into accessible bays too. My boyfriend has no problem pushing a further distance, but he had to have the space next to his car door to get in and out in the first place.

heather Neale's Gravatar
heather Neale

Thursday, May, 16th, 2019

i have a disabled son which we ave a blue badge for what we seeing a lot of is people useing blue badge that the disabled person not even in the car with them and there never no one to check them i think they should do what they do in canda have wardens out even in supermarkets check the badges if it not thairs fine them a large fine also take thair badge there and then

Melanie's Gravatar

Friday, May, 17th, 2019

I welcome the changes My daughter is Autistic and car parks terrify her plus she does nor have the spatial awareness to cross the road safely. It's about time hidden disabilities are recognised. My daughter is registered disabled the same as a wheelchair user

Lesley Sargeant's Gravatar
Lesley Sargeant

Friday, May, 17th, 2019

There are hardly any blue badge spaces in Blackpool. Many expected to pay full price for parking in council car parks which is a disgrace and parking should be free. This new legislation is going to cause chaos. I do not begrudge anyone a blue badge but the number of spaces are far too few. In supermarkets particularly there are plenty of spaces but often fit and able people park in them because it is raining or they have no respect for us. This needs looking at again

Jean Ginder's Gravatar
Jean Ginder

Friday, May, 31st, 2019

I totally agree with the comment made that there should be wheelchair spaces only in addition to disabled parking. I have a nephew with autism & his mother is delighted with the new scheme. However it comes at a great cost to myself as a full time wheelchair user. If they arrive at their destination & there is no available disabled bay, they can use any other bay. I do not have that option. As for tension you cannot imagine how stressed I get wondering if a parking bay will be available for my use & the frustration & upset when there isn’t one. The blue badge system is not monitored with no one checking & abuse is rife. I watch with great sadness people using the bays, jumping out of their cars & in with their day. I pleaded with someone recently who was sitting in their car waiting for the ‘disabled person’ to finish their shopping. I asked very politely if the person needed the extra space for a wheelchair & if not would they mind waiting in any of the many other available bays. I received a torrent of abuse for my trouble. The person eventually arrived, threw the shopping in the boot & off they went! There is no understanding of why the bays are larger. I could rant on forever but I don’t expect it will change anything.

Roy's Gravatar

Sunday, May, 19th, 2019

I think it's great that people with hidden disabilities are getting the recognition. However this mustn't come at the cost of squeezing out people like my wife who is a full time wheelchair user (unable to stand let alone walk). Finding a wheelchair friendly bay can be like winning the lottery at the best of times. Especially at our local hospital where a wheelchair bays are at a premium and we have an important hospital appointment to attend on time. We have been know to wait an hour or two before a blue badge bay becomes free and once one does, then you have to fight for it. It also doesn't help that blue badge bays are often get abused by people just using them to quickly nip into the shop or use the cash point machines. As other have said, more need to be done with cracking down on blue badge abuse, not just on road parking, but also off road too. I also feel that people with hidden disabilities also don't fully understand the needs of a wheelchair user and the need for leaving adequate space beside the car to allow for wheelchair access. We have often returned to our car to find that we can't get wheelchair access into to it because the person parked next to us have ignored the hatched lines on the floor along with our stickers saying leave 8ft space for wheelchair access. I feel the new rules will just open the floodgates for blue badge bay demand. Our local hospital N&N in Norfolk has recently built a new unit upon one of it's car park, so we have lost vital blue badge bays as well as they have converted a couple of what's left of the blue badge bay's to mother and toddlers bays. I often see blue badge holders with hidden disabilities just go and park in the normal bays when all the blue badge bays are taken up. Unfortunately this is not an option for many wheelchair users. In order for the most vulnerable not to be squeezed out, I feel that we need a separate colour badge scheme for full time wheelchair users with wheelchair bays only (only to be used when using a wheelchair at the time of parking and not to be used if leaving the wheelchair at home or in the car) We are dreading the new changes and the increase stress of trying to find wheelchair friendly parking.

Elizabeth Dixon's Gravatar
Elizabeth Dixon

Thursday, May, 30th, 2019

This is good news for many people with disabilities but bad news too. Fairness to all blue badge users is right but local authorities have to get things in working order too. 1. Provide the correct number of blue badge bays (the DfT do this), 2. Put them in the right places (!) for a reasonable time, 3. Ensure they’re used correctly (check the user), 4. Seize if used incorrectly which this doesn’t happen now in my area so won’t happen in August - we’re told to use on-street spaces at no cost, but these bays aren’t large enough. The losers will be people with disabilities. The solution is for all of us to be responsible.

Sheridan Crew's Gravatar
Sheridan Crew

Monday, May, 20th, 2019

My Grandaughter has epilepsy who when effected will wander in a trance like state oblivious to any dangers around her. This may happen unexpectedly and may last for for only a few seconds or sometimes minutes. Having a blue badge will greatly eliminate these risks and I welcome the changes

wheelchair24's Gravatar

Tuesday, May, 21st, 2019

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

Jean Ginder's Gravatar
Jean Ginder

Friday, May, 31st, 2019

I was in America and at every venue was able to access an accessible parking bay. I had thought this was down to there being more space but was told that it was because there is a $200 fine for misuse. This action wouldn’t provide more spaces in the uk but would ensure those using them were genuine. There is little or no monitoring of blue badge abuse here.

Christine Ross's Gravatar
Christine Ross

Friday, May, 31st, 2019

I'm pleased that other categories of health problems are being added to the blue badge, but sad that this will add more people to an already overcrowded area. There are simply not enough disabled spaces for the numbers of disabled people or it appears so. There is great misuse of blue badges and unless it is policed in some way the situation will not improve. I am a full time wheelchair user as I'm paraplegic. The nightmare of parking goes on and on. I dread having to go anywhere because if I can't get a wide parking space I can't get out of the car. I don't think the situation is going to get any better anytime soon.

Jane bennett's Gravatar
Jane bennett

Friday, May, 31st, 2019

I am paraplegic, cannot stand or walk and am a full time wheelchair user living in I where I rarely see anyone with a visual disability using a blue badge space and the spaces are always full and in some instances have been taken over for electric cars. Why hasn’t the issue of even more people having blue badges been thought through properly? Why not have two types of badge whereby people who need the physical space next to their cars in order to be able to transfer in to eg wheelchairs have one badge and people who do mot need this space, have another badge and park in marked bays near the blue badge bays? It is difficult enough now to find a vacant blue badge space without often waiting for someone without a physical disability to get out of the space so goodness knows what is going to happen in August.... If the bb scheme was properly enforced, councils could be making money from the bb cheats. I have been driving as a paraplegic for 40 years and the bb parking spaces get more abused year after year and the bb parking spaces are getting less. This new legislation has not been thought through and parking is going to be even more hellish for wheelchair users dependent on their cars for getting from a to b.

Carol Lyons's Gravatar
Carol Lyons

Tuesday, August, 13th, 2019

I live in Leeds, I don't have a badge (yet) but my Dad does. I drive to work every morning and pass a Heron Foods van taking up all the disabled spaces on Armley Town Street. Admittedly it is early (before 8 a.m) but I still don't think it's right that they park there when it states blue badge holders only. I complained to Heron and was told 'they have nowhere else to park'. So I complained to the blue badge people (can't remember the correct name) and they said that because Heron are providing a service to people in Armley and their nearest parking would be further up the road, they are allowed to park there. So why bother putting a sign up say Blue badge holders only?

Meg's Gravatar

Monday, September, 2nd, 2019

I would benefit greatly from being able to park in the rarely used disabled space near my daughter's flat, she lives in a tourist town and I cannot park a distance away as I am unable to walk around people without becoming very distressed. I rely on my car to get me door to door. When I go to visit her it's 50/50 whether I can actually visit her because if the car park near her is full then I have to give up and drive home again.

james schutte's Gravatar
james schutte

Thursday, September, 12th, 2019

I don't think the new criteria for blue badges will increase the demand for spaces because the new criteria has prevented me from getting my badge renewed. As I can walk slowly 80yds or so round a hospital floor with a rollator I don't have a need for a badge. I have MS and having had my badge for the past 6yrs it has been of a great help to me. My Ms is now worse than when I first applied when I walked with a stick. My rollator has a seat because I can't stand for long so whereas the old criteria "Very considerable difficulty in walking" would have got my badge renewed, It will not do so now.