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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!

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

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.

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.