Having a Blue Badge enables disabled people with severe walking difficulties park near to their destinations and use reserved bays in public car parks. It is a national arrangement giving parking concessions in the UK.
The Scheme also applies to registered blind people and people with severe upper limb disabilities who regularly drive a vehicle but cannot turn a steering wheel by hand. Local Authorities issue the Badges and you can apply online (see below) if you are resident in England or Scotland. If you live in Wales, you will be able to apply online from April 2012.
Blue Badge Scheme Changes
Blue Badge usage and benefits remain unchanged, but the badge is more tamper proof. Details of badge-holders will be held nationwide to allow local authorities to cross match application details and assist parking enforcement. This will reduce forgery but not solve many other misuses!.
The Blue Badge Scheme is also known as the European Parking Card as arrangements for it’s use has been made enabling holders to disabled parking concessions in all countries in the European Economic Community (EEC).
Disabled visitors to the UK cannot get a Blue Badge. For visitors from countries outside of the EU where no formal arrangements currently exist, UK parking enforcement officials may be prepared to recognise your disabled motorists’ badges, although that will be entirely at their own discretion. We suggest that you bring your badge with you and check with the local police in the areas you intend to visit.
Who can Apply
Adults of any age and children aged three years and over can get a Blue Badge.
If you have a child under the age of three with specific medical conditions – The badge will expire the day after the child’s third birthday. After this point they will be required to apply for a Blue Badge in the same fashion as other children over the age of three years
Special rules for children under three years old
If you’re a parent of a child who is younger than three years old, you may also apply for a Blue Badge. Your child must have a specific medical condition which means that they either:
* must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which is very difficult to carry around
* or need to be kept near a vehicle at all times to get emergency treatment for a condition when necessary.
Organisations who have clients with severe mobility problems and who have difficulty using public transport can apply to there local authority for a Blue Badge.
The information on this page relates to England unless specified. Details of the scheme are very similar in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – please see the relevant government webpages below for regional differences, applying online and more information. Your local authority can give you information on the scheme in your area via their website, by phone or visit.
Automatic qualification for a Blue Badge
Anyone over two years old automatically qualifies for a Blue Badge if they:
- are registered blind
- receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility supplement
- receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
- have received a lump sum benefit from the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme
(within tariff levels 1-8) and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking
Other people who may qualify for a Blue Badge
If you do not automatically qualify, you may need to be assessed by your local authority.
Anyone over two years old may be eligible for a Blue Badge, if they either:
- have a permanent and substantial disability which means they cannot walk, or makes walking very difficult
- drive a motor vehicle regularly and have a severe disability in both arms, making it very difficult or impossible to operate parking meters
Do I need to own a car?
There is no requirement for you to own a vehicle or be able to drive one. The badge is personal to you and can be used in any vehicle in which you are travelling either as driver or passenger.
How do I apply for a Blue Badge?
Your local council is responsible for administering the Scheme and issuing badges. They will send you an application form which you will need to return with 2 recent (passport sized) photographs of yourself.
What you need for an online application
You will need the following information to complete your application:
- Your National Insurance number or Child Reference Number
- Your driving licence number, if you have one
- A digital or signed photograph
- The number, expiry date and local authority given on your current badge, if you have one
Photographs should match passport standards – see ‘Passport photos and who can certify them‘ for more information. If you send your photo in digitally, it should be:
- IIn colour
- In .JPG or .GIF format
- No larger than 200 KB
- The same aspect ratio as a passport photo – where the height is 1.29 times the width
You may also need to send other documents or evidence when you apply to your local authority. There will be a message about this on the screen if this is the case, and your local authority’s address will be shown. Your local authority will get in touch if they need any more information, if they decide that you need a mobility assessment and to let you know whether your application has been successful. See ‘The Blue Badge Scheme – rights and responsibilities in England‘ to learn more.
Will I need to be assessed by a doctor?
If you do not meet one of the ‘automatic without further assessment’ criteria, such as being in receipt of the higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance, your eligibility will need to be assessed by the issuing authority. The assessment arrangements are for individual authorities to decide but you will be asked to answer a series of questions to help them determine your eligibility. The authority may also ask your permission to seek further information from your doctor or ask you to see an independent doctor or other health care professional, such as an occupational therapist, employed by the authority.
local authorities can still ask GPs to carry out these eligibility assessments. However, legislation has come into effect, requiring local authorities to use mobility assessments that are undertaken by professionals who are independent of an applicant’s care and treatment to determine eligibility when it is in doubt. These assessments will become mandatory. GPs may still be asked by local authorities to provide factual information about an applicant’s treatment or condition.
I have been refused, can I appeal?
There is no right of appeal against a local authority’s decision to refuse a blue badge, but an unsuccessful applicant may ask the authority to reconsider the case if they feel that their mobility problems have become more serious or if they think that all the relevant facts were not taken into consideration at the time of the assessment.
Information for badge holders
How should I display my badge and time clock?
The badge should be displayed on the dashboard of your vehicle with the front (the side containing the expiry date, issuing authority and wheelchair symbol) clearly visible to enforcement officials.
The associated time clock only needs to be displayed when you are parking on yellow lines or in a blue badge parking bay that has a time limit. In both cases, you should set the time of arrival on the clock and display it next to your badge on the dashboard.
Failure to display your badge and time clock properly could result in a parking ticket.
Where can’t I park?
A blue badge is not a license to park anywhere.
What about parking in central London?
Some of the Central London boroughs, which feature City of London, Westminster, Kensington, Chelsea and Camden are regulated differently. They generally issue a special parking permit, which restrict the mobility around the capital. You can obtain more information from the Association of Local Government Transport (New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4TG – Tel. 020 7747 4767).
If you are planning to visit central London and intend to use your badge, you may wish to check first with the authorities concerned.
What about off-street car parking?
The parking concessions provided under the Blue Badge Scheme only apply to on-street parking. They do not apply in off-street car parks such as those at supermarkets. The conditions of use of off-street facilities are entirely down to the individual car park owner or operator to determine and these should be clearly displayed at the entrance. You should note that badge holders are not automatically exempt from charges in these car parks. If in doubt, ask an attendant.
Am I exempt from charges at toll crossings?>
Badge holders are exempt from a number of toll crossings across the United Kingdom.
Toll concessions for disabled persons’ badge holders at road bridges and tunnels
Can I use my badge abroad?
The blue badge design is now standard across the European Union and you are entitled to the local concessions which apply in each Member State. Please note that these do vary from country to country.
For Reciprocal Parking Arrangements for Disabled Parking in Europe (EEC) see:
European Parking Card for People with Disabilities
For Reciprocal Parking Arrangements for Disabled Parking in Other Countries see:
Reciprocal Parking Arrangements for Disabled People Outside the EEC
My badge or time clock has been lost/stolen, who should I contact?
You should contact the authority who issued your badge or time clock . If your badge has been stolen, you should also contact the police. They will give you a crime number which should be quoted when contacting the local authority who will issue a replacement.
My badge is due to expire, what should I do?
Contact you local council who will arrange for an application form to be sent to you.
I have changed my address, do I need to notify anybody?
No, unless you are moving within the same council area in which case you should let the issuing authority know your new address for administrative purposes. If you are moving to another council area, contact your new council around 6 weeks before your badge is due to expire and they will send you the appropriate forms
The badge is no longer needed, who should I return it to?
If for any reason the badge is no longer required, it must be returned to the issuing authority
Misuse – I think a badge is being misused, what should I do?
Report the matter to your local council. If possible, you should get as many details as possible from the badge on display (name, serial number, expiry date, etc). The council will investigate the matter and take appropriate action if the badge can be shown to be displayed fraudulently.
New measures, which will start to come into force from April 2012 this year, include:
- giving local authorities on-the-spot power to recover badges that have been cancelled and misused
- replacing handwritten badges with standard electronic ones which are harder to alter and forge
Disabled Persons’ Parking Bays
Can I have a blue badge bay outside of my home?
Your local council is responsible for the provision of blue badge bays. They can designate bays on the highway but this may not always be possible due to local traffic and safety conditions. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and you should contact your local council and ask for the Highways Department. I believe a Blue Badge parking bay outside your home can unfortunately be used by any vehicle displaying a Blue Badge.
Who is responsible for the provisions of blue badge bays in town centres?
The local council is responsible for the provision of all types of parking bays within their area. If you have any concerns about the provision of blue badge bays, you should contact them to discuss the matter.
I see many non-disabled people parking in off-street bays, such as supermarket car parks, who should I complain to?
The blue badge bays provided in supermarket and other off-street car parks are not covered by the regulations governing the scheme, which only apply to on-street bays. These bays are in most cases not legally enforceable and their use depends to a large extent on the courtesy and consideration of other drivers. If you see bays being abused by non-disabled people, we suggest you bring this to the attention of the appropriate store or car park operator.
Parking Tickets when using a Blue Badge
I have received a parking ticket whilst displaying my badge, can you help?
The reason you have received a parking ticket will be indicated on the rear of the ticket itself. If you feel it was wrongly issued and wish to appeal, you should contact the parking enforcement office (whose details will also be on the rear of the ticket). If this does not prove satisfactory, you may also wish to contact the National Parking Adjudication Service, an independent tribunal where impartial lawyers consider appeals by motorists and vehicle owners whose vehicles have been issued with a parking ticket (or have been removed or clamped) by councils in England and Wales.
Please note that the Department for Transport has no powers to intervene in disputes over the issue of a parking ticket.
Do I qualify for exemption from road tax?
The road tax exemption for disabled people is operated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). It is entirely independent of the Blue Badge Scheme. In order to qualify for an exemption, you must:
What about the London congestion charge?
If you hold a valid Blue Badge in the European Economic Area, you’re eligible to register for a 100 per cent discount, even if you don’t own a vehicle or drive.
You can register up to two vehicles that you would normally use to travel within the charging zone. This could be your own vehicle, or one you travel in.
Fill in and post the registration form below. Once we’ve sent you an approval letter, you can drive or be driven in the zone, free. Until then, you must pay the charge. You have to pay £10 for this discount.