Blue Badge scheme: 30 badge holders per disabled parking space with numbers set to grow

People with hidden disabilities are now eligible for Blue Badges, but councils have no plans to create more disabled spaces

Plans for free blue badges

There are 30 Blue Badge holders for each council-owned disabled parking space in the UK, on average, but nearly three-quarters of local authorities are not planning to create more spaces, new research has shown. The shortage of council-owned disabled parking spaces is likely to get worse as well, with the eligibility criteria for Blue Badges now extended to include people with hidden disabilities.

In spite of this, 74 per cent of councils who responded to a Freedom of Information request by Confused.com said they don’t currently have any plans in place to expand the number of disabled parking spaces they offer.

Best Motability cars on sale now

As part of its research, Confused.com also surveyed 2,000 UK drivers. It found 48 per cent think the move to allow people with hidden disabilities to claim Blue Badges is a positive one, but 30 per cent think councils need to create new disabled parking spaces to compensate and 25 per cent of those who hold a Blue Badge, or regularly travel with someone who does, are concerned they won’t be able to access disabled spaces due to the expansion of the scheme.

Furthermore, seven per cent of the 1,300 drivers surveyed who didn’t hold a Blue Badge admitted to having misused a disabled parking bay. Of these, 36 per cent said their reason was that they were only going to be quick, 28 per cent said there were plenty of other disabled spaces available and 24 per cent couldn’t find another space.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, commented: “Clearly more parking for Blue Badge holders is needed – 30 drivers to one space is quite a challenge.

“It’s no wonder some of these drivers have had to park elsewhere, and the number of people competing for spaces is only going to grow as more people can apply for a Blue Badge now.

New tech helping disabled drivers

What is a Blue Badge?

A Blue Badge is a parking permit issued to people with eligible disabilities. The aim is to help them or someone who is driving them to park closer to their destination.

Blue Badge holders are allowed to park without charges or time limits in on-street disabled bays, and at on-street parking meters and pay and display machines. In addition, Blue Badge holders can park on yellow lines for up to three hours, unless a ban on loading or unloading is in force. These concessions do not apply to off-street car parks or private roads, however.

Using someone else’s Blue Badge when you’re not driving them is a criminal offence and can result in a fine of up to £1,000. If the holder is found to have misused the Blue Badge or allowed others to do so, it may be revoked.

Who is eligible for a Blue Badge?

You automatically qualify for a Blue Badge if you:

  • • Receive the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance.
  • • Receive Personal Independence Payments for being unable to walk further than 50 metres.
  • • Are registered as blind.
  • • Receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement.
  • • Have received a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme 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 include those who are more than two years old and have a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking, and those who 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.

Parents of children under three-years-old may apply for a Blue Badge if their child has a specific medical condition which means that they must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around without great difficulty, or need to be kept near a vehicle at all times, so that they can, if necessary, be treated in the vehicle, or quickly driven to a place where they can be treated, such as a hospital.

As of 30 August 2019, people with hidden disabilities are also eligible to apply for a Blue Badge. This includes those suffering from autism, dementia and other mental health conditions.

In addition, organisations can apply for a Blue Badge if they both care for and transport disabled people who themselves meet the eligibility criteria.

How do I apply for a Blue Badge?

Blue Badges are administered by local authorities. Applicants are advised to contact their local council directly to find out more about the administration of the scheme in their area and to obtain a copy of the application form. 

Alternatively, you can apply online via the Government website. Blue Badges are free in Wales, while successful applicants have to pay up to £10 in England and up to £20 in Scotland.

Recommended

VED road tax: how much does it cost?
car tax calculator
Consumer news

VED road tax: how much does it cost?

Confused by VED road tax? Our comprehensive guide explains how much you'll pay on your next car
25 Sep 2020
Dartford Crossing toll: follow our guide and avoid a fine!
Dartford Crossing bridge
Consumer news

Dartford Crossing toll: follow our guide and avoid a fine!

Read our complete Dartford Crossing guide for when and how to pay the Dart Charge, along with guidance on appealing a fine
25 Sep 2020
Should you buy or lease your new car?
Tips & advice

Should you buy or lease your new car?

Should you buy or lease your new car? That is the big question facing millions of people who are eyeing up a new set of wheels, we talk you through th…
23 Sep 2020
Company car tax guide 2019/2020: everything you need to know
Consumer news

Company car tax guide 2019/2020: everything you need to know

Strict new emissions tests will affect how much company car tax we pay. Here we look at how the system has changed
23 Sep 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp
BMW 3 Series M3 Coupe

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp

The new sixth-generation BMW M3 Competition saloon gets a 503bhp straight-six engine and four-wheel-drive
22 Sep 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range
Volkswagen ID.4

New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range

The new Tiguan-sized Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV becomes VW’s second ID. model, rivalling the Tesla Model Y
23 Sep 2020
New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range
Land Rover Range Rover Velar

New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range

Land Rover has given the Range Rover Velar an update, with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain and an improved infotainment system
23 Sep 2020