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Who is eligible?

An individual will automatically qualify for a Blue Badge if they are aged 3 or over and at least one of the following applies:

  • They receive the higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • They receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP) because they can’t walk more than 50 metres (a score of 8 points or more under the ‘moving around’ activity of the mobility component).
  • They are registered blind (severely sight impaired).
  • They receive a War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement.
  • They have received a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1 to 8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability that causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
  • They receive the mobility component of PIP and have obtained 10 points specifically for descriptor E under the ‘Planning and Following Journeys’ activity, on the grounds that they are unable to undertake any journey because it would cause them overwhelming psychological distress.

Individual may also be eligible for a Blue Badge under a number of other criteria after an assessment by their local authority.

On 30 August 2019, the government introduced new eligibility criteria for Blue Badge applications in England, to include non-visible and non-physical disabilities.

Enforcement and appeals

In England, Scotland and Wales it is an offence under section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the badge to be misused by a non-disabled person, with a maximum fine on conviction of £1,000. In Northern Ireland it is an offence under Section 2 of The Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993 for the badge to be misused by a non-disabled person, with a maximum fine on conviction of £1,000.

Local authorities have the power to withdraw the Badge if the holder constantly misuses it or allows it to be misused by others. Section 94 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 further tightened the legislation in England and Wales by giving uniformed enforcement officers the power to inspect Badges.

Legislative changes

The most recent legislative changes are the changes that came about following a January 2018 consultation on extending the eligibility for the Blue Badge scheme individuals living with non-physical disabilities.

Using a Blue Badge abroad

In 1998 EU Member States made an informal agreement (amended in 2008) to recognise badges of a common format issued in EU countries. As it currently stands, a Blue Badge is currently accepted in some European Union (EU) countries, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Parking concessions vary in each country. The Gov.uk page on this subject has information about the specifics in each country.

Negotiations are continuing about the recognition and use of UK Blue Badges in some European countries. Holders of a Blue Badge should check with individual embassies for the latest developments.

Parking

In addition to Blue Badges, one of the challenges faced by disabled people who use private vehicles is being able to park both outside their home and near shops and other facilities. Local authorities have powers to install disabled parking bays and spaces both on and off road — these can be statutory or discretionary. Discretionary spaces are cheaper to install but they rely on other motorists not to park in them and are not legally enforceable. In privately owned car parks (eg attached to supermarkets), it is up for the landowner to install spaces for disabled people and to enforce them.

More information on this can be found in the Library Briefing on Parking Policy in England.

Blue Badges outside England

Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales operate their own Blue Badge schemes.

The scheme in Northern Ireland is run by the Department of Infrastructure. The eligibility criteria can be viewed on their website.

The Welsh Government publishes eligibility criteria and eligibility guidance for local authorities on their website, as well as advice on applying for a badge. The Scottish Government publishes similar information.

The Blue Badge scheme is a devolved matter. The information in this paper relates to the rules in England, unless otherwise stated.

Information on other parking matters can be found the Library Briefings on Parking Policy in England, and that covering Parking FAQs.


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