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 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.