All about Blue Badges and disabled bay parking

blue badges
Drivers with Blue Badges can park in privileged positions (iStock/Richard Johnson)

Blue Badges help disabled people park closer to their destination. The idea is that on the street and in special parking bays close to libraries, doctors’ surgeries or other amenities, there is parking for cars that show their driver or passenger is disabled or somehow incapacitated.

How can you get a Blue Badge?

You apply to your council for these. You need proof of identity and address and you must prove that you are eligible for a Blue Badge. This includes details of medication or treatment and supporting documents from healthcare professionals. If you have trouble walking, you must provide details of how this shows itself.

Blue Badges cost £10 in England, £20 in Scotland and are free in Wales. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online. However, you can apply for them through Citizens Advice or often in libraries. Blue Badges are usually valid for up to three years.

Who qualifies for Blue Badges?

There’s a wide range of conditions that qualify for a Blue Badge. The government website lists these here. They include people who can’t walk at all, those who can’t walk without help from someone else, anyone with a child under three who has a severe medical condition, people who are a constant and significant risk to themselves and others near vehicles, in traffic or car parks, and those who become anxious or fearful in open spaces.

The scheme is also automatically open to people who receive various benefits. The government website lists these here. They include people who receive the Personal Independence Payment and anyone registered blind or in receipt of a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement.

Blue Badges can also be applied for by a person or organisation that regularly drives someone who qualifies.

Where can a Blue Badge be used?

blue badges
The clock helps parking attendants to see how long a car has been parked in a bay (Picture iStock/Raylipscombe)

Blue Badges are for use in on-street parking only. A blue parking clock is supplied with the badge. This shows parking attendants and police how long the car has been there for.

Cars displaying Blue Badges can park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours. And they can park at on-street meters for free. They can also park in on-street disabled bays for as long as they wish.

Where can’t you use a Blue Badge?

Blue Badge holders can’t park where there is a ban on loading, shown by kerb markings.

Although off-street car park operators can provide parking places for disabled people, they’re not always free for Blue Badge holders. If you’re visiting a shopping centre, hospital or local authority-run car park, it’s best to check the regulations for that location.

Who can use a Blue Badge?

A Blue Badge must only be used or displayed if the person the badge is for is in the car. That means someone who qualifies for a Blue Badge can’t give it to someone else to do their shopping for them.

The Blue Badge shouldn’t be used by whoever is driving the badge holder to have preferential parking while the badge holder stays in the car. And you shouldn’t give it to family or friends to enable them to park for free. Anyone who breaks the strict rules regarding Blue Badges can receive a fine of up to £1,000.

Can you be fined for parking in a disabled parking space?

The Department for Transport manages Blue Badge spaces on the street. Park in one of these and you’ll get a £60 Fixed Penalty Notice. It’s worth noting that some private car parks also fine drivers without Blue Badges for parking in disabled bays. These fines vary.

Beware of scam websites

There are various official looking websites that offer to apply for Blue Badges on your behalf. They frequently charge up to £50 for exactly the same service as the official provider. And they need all the same details you provide to the local authority so despite the extra cost, you don’t save any time or effort.

34 comments on “All about Blue Badges and disabled bay parking

  1. JANETTE ABBOTT September 12, 2019 7:35 am

    My blue badge has helped me immensely

  2. Peter Dolton November 15, 2019 9:02 pm

    I could not go out if I never had one it gives me a new life.

  3. ian November 15, 2019 10:39 pm

    It seems crazy that if double yellow lines are there for a reason i.e. for safety or traffic flow , that any vehicles be allowed to park on them. It seems that the critera for putting down DYLs has been changed or abused by the local authorities.

  4. M Gomersall November 15, 2019 10:47 pm

    My daughter is a Blue Badge holder but she had to pay nearly £200 for a Disabled Box to be painted outside her home – but anyone who holds a Blue Badge can use it. This isn’t really fair, surely other badge holders should respect the fact that she has had to pay for the box because she actually needs it to access her own home?

  5. David Harfitt November 16, 2019 10:36 am

    I am disabled and have to use sticks or a walker to get about, but I am concerned by the number of ‘fit’ badge holders there are. The majority cannot drive properly, and park over the access pathways. Others are too tired to return their shopping trolleys, and leave them on the access paths in shopping areas. The whole system needs an overhaul. Giving a council clerk the responsibility of issuing them, says it all!.

    • elizabeth martin November 20, 2019 5:23 pm

      Have you not seen “not all disabilities are visible”?- heart conditions for example. Like you I need walking aids but many others cannot walk far due to heart/COPD etc. I personally feel the rules and asessments nowadays manage to filter any “con” merchants.

  6. Peter Ellam November 16, 2019 12:36 pm

    Hi, why is it that you can`t park for free unless you are exempt from road fund tax, isn`t it why the blue badge is given for all disabled drivers. Surely this is discrimination.

  7. Roger M Lovell November 17, 2019 8:21 am

    My wife’s Blue Badge has helped to improve our ability to go out together and enjoy more social events

  8. Nina Singh November 18, 2019 9:08 am

    Since August 2019 people with Hidden Illnesses can apply. I have mental health issues. The LA gave me a week to apply online. It was an arduous process but well worth the time and effort.

  9. ron soulsby November 19, 2019 8:22 am

    where i live in 8 parking places blue badge 4 had no badge parkers 88 years ro s

  10. Victoria A November 19, 2019 9:33 am

    Double yellow lines are there for a reason and sometimes because it’s not safe and obscures sight lines for other drivers. Surely dropping off on double yellow lines and parking for up to 3 hours on single yellow should be the rule.

  11. Southend Mike November 19, 2019 9:45 am

    Sadly, the Operators of many Supermarket Car Parks display ambivalence towards the monitoring of users of Disabled Parking spaces. Equally sadly, there are too many able-bodied drivers who feel it’s perfectly acceptable to deny a Blue Badge holder the use of the Bay while they’re “just popping in the shop” or some equally banal excuse. There – rant over!

  12. anthony booth November 19, 2019 10:30 am

    I find it wrong that councils sell off public car parks to private company’s like Euro parks who then set their own rules about it not recognising the blue badge, even when the car park is adjacent to a busy popular town centre outlet store. The store itself do not even complain

  13. John Hughes November 19, 2019 11:08 am

    They include people who can’t walk at all, those who can’t walk without help from someone else.
    Are you sure that this comment is correct?
    I see plenty of people who are able to walk without aid.
    There must be some other variables.

  14. John Kennedy November 19, 2019 11:31 am

    Well done Green Flag for putting out this info.
    I am a Blue Badge holder & it has helped me immensely due to mobility problems.
    I now go to places I couldn’t without the badge.
    As long as it is used properly it is a great help.

  15. Gerald Bridges November 19, 2019 12:11 pm

    You state that disabled people have to be supported by another person when walking, that is not the case.

  16. Ray nelson November 19, 2019 1:34 pm

    Can someone clarify parking with on street meter parking for blue badges

  17. A ingham November 19, 2019 8:19 pm

    My partner is a tetraplegic and we need a large space to use the wheelchair ramp to the side.. whilst people with invisible disabilities may need spaces near the entrance we need larger spaces for wheelchair access. What would be beneficial is dedicated wheelchair user spaces which while larger do not need to be st the entrance but only used by wheelchair users.. honestly we find it almost impossible to get a disabled space these days it’s ridiculous.

  18. Kay MacDonald November 19, 2019 8:52 pm

    I wish I could get one, it would help immensely with my disability, however Wolverhampton council want the same information sent over and over again. I have sent 20 pieces of evidence now in multiples and they have asked for the same information yet again in a standard unpersonalised unmodified email fired off without thought for the consequences.

  19. Veronica Blackwell November 19, 2019 9:01 pm

    Blue Badges are not only useful to get closer to the destination, marked spaces reserved for Blue Badge holders are wider, which is essential to get a wheelchair alongside.

  20. Tony Corrigan November 19, 2019 10:11 pm

    A blue badge is a great help tp didabled persons, but it is not worh becoming disabled to get one!!

  21. Tony Corrigan November 19, 2019 10:12 pm

    A blue badge is a great help tp didabled persons, but it is NOT worth becoming disabled to get one!!

  22. beryl shipp November 19, 2019 10:17 pm

    I would be confined to my house if I didn’t have my blue badge.

  23. Mrs Dawh Holmes November 19, 2019 11:01 pm

    I could not manage without my blue badge and ‘Disabled Bays’. The extra width allows me to get from my wheelchair into the car and out again when regular parking bays are too narrow to allow for this. I am my own driver and can’t therefore be dropped off whilst an able bodied driver parks the car elsewhere. Without such special bays I could not do the things that everybody else takes for granted such as shop for food or visit the doctor.

  24. Richmond Penni November 19, 2019 11:09 pm

    My blue badge has helped me immensely since my Stroke 4 years ago!

  25. Roy Cutler November 20, 2019 12:52 am

    Without my blue badge I couldn,t make it to the shops .I know my condition worsens but at least ,at the moment ,I can be self sufficent .Walking is painful but I manage a little thank you .

  26. Clive November 20, 2019 8:20 am

    My 95 year old mother in law has had a blue badge for 5 years. In that time we have only used the badge in disabled bays as she feels that parking elsewhere will get a parking fine… the information that you have provided will make her feel at ease when I park on a double yellow line to make it easier access for her when shopping. Thank you

  27. ron wimpress November 20, 2019 3:47 pm

    the badge is a god send to me as i dont walk to far ? it is madning to see drivers
    parking then running to do their shopping ? I have held the badge for 30 years
    and have never been asked by police or traffic warden to see my badge along
    with the photo and ID. cheers Ron.

  28. carolyn lindsay November 20, 2019 4:01 pm

    It would be better if the photo of the blue badge holder was on it so when challenged it can be proved who it belongs to. There seem to be a number of families that borrow the blue badge to get a space at the hospital without the holder being in the car. This abuse of privilege needs to be stopped.

    • Loraine November 20, 2019 5:30 pm

      all blue badges have a photo of the eligible person on the opposite side of the display side, so can be checked by traffic warden/police

    • loraine November 20, 2019 5:35 pm

      Hi Carolyn, all blue badges have a photo of the eligible person on the opposite side of the one displayed, so can be checked by traffic warden/police.

  29. A Desborough November 21, 2019 12:19 am

    Why is there no enforcement in supermarkets, the amount of people sitting in their cars while able bodied people do the shopping. The Blue badge is for the disabled person to park close to the amenities and for that disabled person to get out of the car and do whatever has to be done, Not for them to sit in the car while others do the shopping ect. That’s a fine but when do you hear of anyone being fined.

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