The Blue Badge SchemeBy Jo Southall -
The blue badge scheme is all about a handy little parking permit. The aim of the game is to help disabled people or their drivers’ park nearer to their destination and in accessible bays.
Regular size parking bays just aren’t designed with mobility impaired users in mind. Narrow bays and wide luxury cars mean there is often just enough room for a pedestrian, throw in a pair of crutches or a wheelchair and there simply isn’t enough room. Blue Badge parking bays come complete with handy yellow cross hatching, this makes sure there is enough room for wheelchairs and other mobility equipment and also leaves enough room to open car doors all the way so it’s easier to get in and out of the vehicle.
Blue Badge bays aren’t just for wheelchair users, often people who use them will look perfectly healthy. Just bear in mind that you can’t actually see many medical conditions. Looking fine doesn’t equal feeling fine. The Blue Badge means permit holders can park closer to their destination, as a driver or passenger. Parking closer can help save energy and minimize pain, it also means quicker access in the event of an emergency. Blue badges are attached to a person not a specific vehicle, so a disabled person can use their badge when traveling with friends and family too. Even if your blue badge was awarded in the UK it can be used throughout the EU, some concessions apply. You can find out more here.
When you receive a blue badge you also get a handy booklet that explains all the rule and regulations as well as detailing where you can and can’t park. The Badge is always valid when using on-street parking but it doesn’t always apply to off-street car parks. You can still use your badge in many off-street car parks but parking isn’t always free. It’s a massive myth that disabled people always park for free. The blue badge scheme is about access not about bargain parking. That said, blue badge parking is often free and blue badge owners are often exempt from road tolls.
So who’s eligible?
You can automatically qualify for a Blue Badge if:
You receive the Higher Rate Mobility component of DLA
You received 8 points of more in the ‘moving around’ category for PIP
You are registered blind
You get a War Pension Mobility Supplement
You can also qualify if:
You have a ‘permanent and substantial disability’ which means you can’t walk, or walking is very difficult
You have a severe disability in both arms, and are unable to operate parking meters
You can get a badge on behalf of a child under 3 if:
The child needs bulky medical equipment all the time
The child needs to be near the vehicle all the time.
Organizations can also apply for a permit if the people they help transport meet the above criteria.
If you’re reading this and you think you might be eligible you can contact your local authority or apply online.
Ciao for now
P.s. If you'd like to read more from me please pop over to my website.