Blue Badge holders are granted additional privileges to other drivers which can mean they can park closer to their destination – and of course utilise disabled parking bays which are also often conveniently located – and are often more spacious which can help with getting in and out of the vehicle.
However, the Blue Badge isn’t a licence to disregard parking regulations altogether and it’s important to understand any local variations in order to avoid penalties for improper use (as well as differences between public and private parking facilities).
Eligible disabled people (and their carers) can apply for a Blue Badge (disabled parking badge). Blue Badge holders enjoy being able to park on single or double yellow lines, unless there is a ban on loading and unloading. Badge holders can also park at parking meters on the street and at pay and display machines for free as long as they want to and in disabled parking bays.
Some Blue Badge privileges have a time restriction such as those relating to parking on single or double yellow lines which is limited to a maximum of three hours (You may need to check local variations).
You need to display the blue parking clock to show your time of arrival. You should display it on the vehicle’s dashboard so that it can be read through the front windscreen. The clock should be set to show the quarter hour period during which you arrived. (A clock is usually sent with a Blue Badge or you can obtain one from your local authority.)
Some people will automatically qualify for a badge. This includes people over two years old and that meet at least one of the following criteria:
• Receives the Higher Rate of the Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance.
• Receives a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for being unable to walk further than 50 metres (a score of 8 points or more under the ‘moving around’ activity of the mobility component – check your award letter).
• Registered blind (severely sight impaired).
• Receives a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement or has received a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and has been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
People may also be eligible for a badge if they are more than two years old and have a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking – or if they drive a motor vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both arms, and are unable to operate, or have considerable difficulty operating, all or some types of parking meter.
Reapplying for a badge
Again, regional variations mean that your local authority may or may not send you a reminder regarding any upcoming renewal date by letter, email or text, so it’s a good idea to reapply some weeks before the expiry date since usage of an expired badge will attract a fine.
You can reapply for a badge online at: www.gov.uk.
Using a Blue Badge in London can be confusing. Rules can vary not only in the different boroughs but also for individual streets so it’s important to read signage carefully. (At popular locations there is often a limit on the amount of time you can park.)
Even where you see the ‘Blue Badge Parking’ sign, availability depends on the day of the week and time of day. (Check the sign to see how long you can stay. It’s usually a maximum of three hours so it’s a good idea to display your parking clock.)
In some areas you can stop on double red or a single red lines to pick up or set down a Blue Badge holder – but the vehicle must move off as soon as possible (but again, check, since this varies across the red route network).
Also be aware that not all bays permit parking – some may be reserved for other activities such as loading only or taxis only.
For further details regarding Blue Badge parking and to find out if your council provides disabled parking spaces, search ‘Blue Badge parking’ via:
Following a similar move in Scotland, people with invisible disabilities such as autism and dementia could become eligible for a Blue Badge in England under new government proposals.
The Government says the proposed new policy is designed to provide more consistent guidelines since not all councils recognise hidden disabilities. The proposals are being put to an eight-week consultation, with the aim of creating parity in the treatment of physical and mental health.
The Scottish Government has been leading the way since launching a pilot scheme in April 2017 that has resulted in the Scottish Blue Badge scheme being extended to carers and relatives.
Disabled Parking Bays
If you use a Blue Badge you can ask your local authority to provide a disabled parking bay near your home or paint white access markings in front of a drive or access way.
To qualify, you must live at the address where you’re asking for a bay, frequently use the vehicle, struggle to park near your home and not have off-street parking such as a drive or garage. (If you’re applying for a space for your carer’s vehicle, they must live at your address.)
It’s worth noting that the markings are advisory only and have no legal standing. In other words, it isn’t a private parking space and any disabled driver may use it. (Able bodied drivers are asked to park elsewhere, but they aren’t prevented from parking in these bays.)
Applications can take time to process since the requested space also needs to be considered appropriate in terms of how it will affect traffic and whether it’s on land controlled by the local authority and so on.