The Blue Badge Scheme: Parking Concessions for People with Disabilities

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The Blue Badge Scheme is administered by your Local Council or Authority (the address and telephone number will be in your local directory - when phoning, ask for the section dealing with Blue Badges).

Contact them if:

  • you need an application form to apply for a badge
  • you need an application form to apply for a disabled parking bay
  • your application was unsuccessful but you do not know why
  • your badge needs to be renewed
  • you move house
  • you no longer need a badge
  • a badge needs to be returned because the holder has died
  • a badge needs to be returned when you are no longer entitled to its use.

YOU MIGHT FIND IT USEFUL TO RECORD THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HERE SO THAT IT IS ALWAYS TO HAND

Badge number

Issued by (insert name of your Local Council)

Issuing Office telephone number

PLEASE READ THIS LEAFLET CAREFULLY

If you have a Blue Badge but do not have a car, other people may use their own cars to drive you around. Please ask them to read this leaflet too. They also need to know their rights and responsibilities with the Blue Badge.

Remember that if you are a disabled driver and your disability is such that it is likely or may become likely to affect your ability to drive (even if your car is adapted) the law requires you to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Swansea SA99 1TU.

WHAT IS THE BLUE BADGE SCHEME?

The Blue Badge Scheme provides a national arrangement in the UK, and a partnership arrangement in most European countries, of parking concessions for people with disabilities who travel either as drivers or passengers. The national concessions allow badge holders to park on-street but they may not apply to car parks and off-street parking. In addition, other benefits may be available to badge holders - see below

WHERE THE SCHEME DOES NOT APPLY

  • The Scheme does not apply on private roads.
  • The Scheme does not apply in off-street car parks. However, some may provide spaces for people with disabilities. You should check the signs to see what concessions are available, and whether Blue Badge holders have to pay. Always display your Blue Badge when occupying one of these spaces. If you are unsure whether you can park, you should check with a traffic warden, police officer or the relevant parking attendant.
  • The Scheme does not apply in certain town centres, where access is prohibited or limited to vehicles with special permits issued locally.
  • The Scheme does not apply in Central London, but some facilities are provided (see below). For further information, contact the London Council (contact details below).
  • The Scheme does not apply on the road systems at some airports ( e.g. Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick). You should therefore contact the airport concerned in advance to check the car parking arrangements.

Remember - the badge belongs to you, and not to the vehicle you are travelling in. You will therefore only be issued with one badge.

As long as the journey is being made for you, and you are in the car with your badge, you can travel in any car.

YOU CAN GET A BADGE IF:

  • you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance
  • you receive a War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement
  • you use a motor vehicle supplied for people with disabilities by the Scottish Executive or the Department of Social Security
  • you have a severe disability in both upper limbs, regularly drive a motor vehicle but cannot turn the steering wheel of a motor vehicle by hand
  • you have a permanent and substantial disability which means you are unable to walk or have very considerable difficulty in walking. In this case, you may be asked some questions to help your Local Authority decide if you are entitled to a badge
  • you are registered blind
  • you are unable to walk or have considerable difficulty in walking because of a temporary but substantial disability which is likely to last for a period of at least 12 months but less than 3 years
  • children under 2 whose medical needs require that he or she is accompanied by bulky medical equipment which includes in particular any of the following:
    i) ventilators;
    ii) suction machines;
    iii) feed pumps;
    iv) parenteral equipment;
    v) syringe drivers;
    vi) oxygen administration equipment; and
    vii) continual oxygen saturation equipment.

People with a psychological disorder will not normally qualify unless their impairment causes very considerable, and not intermittent, difficulty in walking.

(Organisations caring for people with disabilities meeting one or more of the above criteria may be able to get a badge, but this is entirely at the discretion of their Local Authority and the conditions for using such a badge must be strictly observed - see page 10).

A new style of badge has been developed to enhance the Scheme and reduce the risk of badge misuse. This will replace your badge as it comes up for renewal.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A BADGE - contact your Local Authority who administer the Scheme

If you think you may be entitled to a badge you should contact your Local Authority who will send you an application form. It is entirely at the discretion of the Local Authority whether you are considered eligible for a Blue Badge. Appeals against the decision must be made only to the Local Authority. Local Authorities have the option to make a charge to cover the administration costs of issuing a Blue Badge. Ask whether there will be a charge when you make an application.

RENEWING A BADGE

  • The Blue Badge lasts for a period of between 12 months and 3 years. When this time is up, you will need to apply again to your Local Authority for a new badge. It is best to do this several weeks before your current badge runs out. Some councils may send out a reminder to do this.
  • Contact your Local Authority if you need to get your badge renewed, or need a replacement badge if it is illegible or damaged.

DISABLED RESIDENTIAL PARKING BAYS

As a badge holder, you can contact your Local Authority Roads Department who will conduct an assessment which may incur a cost. Unless there is a Traffic Regulation Order ( TRO), any driver, including other badge holders, can park there as the road markings are only advisory. Even if a TRO is in place, other badge holders may park there when displaying their badge.

PHOTOGRAPHS

The Blue Badge is a two-sided card with space for a photograph of the badge holder on the back of the card. Your application should, therefore, be accompanied by two reasonably recent photographs which you should sign on the back. You may send passport-type photographs taken from self-service booths or any suitable photographs cut down to a passport photo size.

YOUR DUTIES AS A BADGE HOLDER

The purpose of the Scheme is to allow you to park close to shops and other places. You must ensure that you use your badge with care and attention to the rules.

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that the badge is used properly. (Mis-use of the badge encourages other motorists to abuse disabled parking spaces). Please play your part.
  • You must not allow other people to use the badge for their own journeys. (Allowing someone else to use your badge is a criminal offence. To reduce the risk of this happening accidentally, you should remove the badge from the vehicle whenever you are not using the parking concessions.)
  • You must ensure that the details on the front of the badge remain readable. (If it becomes unreadable, the badge must be returned to the Local Authority for re-issue.)
  • If you lose your badge or it is stolen, you must report the badge as missing to the police and your Local Authority.
  • You must not use the badge to allow able-bodied people to take advantage of the parking benefits while you sit in the car. (It is not against the law for you, the badge holder, or your companion to wait in the car for a short time while parked with the Blue Badge displayed. However, you should always use a car park wherever possible.)

INSPECTING A BADGE

  • A Power to Inspect Blue Badges was introduced in Scotland on 1 January 2004. This is designed to protect the rights of legitimate badge holders by stopping people who are forging, stealing or tampering with badges that are not their own.
  • You can ask for identification from an official who asks to see your badge. (This will either be a policeman, a traffic warden or Local Authority car parking attendant.)
  • It is an offence not to show your badge when requested.

IF YOU LOSE YOUR BADGE

  • Lost or stolen Badges should be reported to the police immediately.
  • Contact your Local Authority to let them know and they will arrange a replacement badge for you.

CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES - contact your Local Authority

  • If your circumstances change and you no longer need your badge, you must return it to the Local Authority from where it was issued. You should contact your Local Authority who will advise you what to do next.
  • If you change any personal details or address, you should notify your Local Authority so that they may amend their records.
  • If you move house, if appropriate, let your new Local Authority know so that they have your details on record.
  • Upon the death of a Blue Badge holder, the badge should be returned to the issuing Local Authority. Please contact your Local Authority for advice.
  • When your entitlement ends for the use of a temporary badge you must return it to your Local Authority.
  • Some councils may also require details of a change of vehicle.

WHERE TO PARK

  • If in doubt at any time, you should check with the Local Authority.
  • Badge holders may park free of charge and without time limit at parking meters on-street and 'pay-and-display' on-street parking.
  • Badge holders may be exempt from time limits imposed on other users.
  • Badge holders may usually park on single or double yellow lines in Scotland without any time limit. In England and Northern Ireland, there is a time limit of up to 3 hours.
  • Badge holders can park in greenways outwith times of operation.

Remember, the Blue Badge must be displayed at all times when parking.

WHERE NOT TO PARK

When there is a local traffic order in force, specifying a time limit for disabled parking badges - always check local signs before parking.

The Blue Badge is not a licence to park anywhere and conditions differ in different areas and countries. Always check roadside signs showing times of operation for loading bays etc. Restrictions will always be signed.

You must NOT park:

During the time a ban on loading or unloading is in force (normally indicated by one or two yellow marks on the kerb at the times shown on post mounted signs).

For example:

During the time a ban on loading or unloading is in force (normally indicated by one or two yellow marks on the kerb at the times shown on post mounted signs)

However, in pedestrian areas, waiting and loading restrictions may be in force even where there are no yellow lines shown on the road or kerb. Details of any restrictions in force will be shown on plates displayed at the kerb side of the road.

  • where there are double white lines in the centre of the road even if one of the lines is broken
  • in a dedicated bus or tram lane during its hours of operation
  • in a cycle lane
  • on any clearway, double or single red lines during their hours of operation
  • on all pedestrian crossings - including Zebra, Pelican, Toucan and Puffin crossings
  • on zig-zag markings before and after Zebra, Pelican, Toucan and Puffin crossings
  • in parking places reserved for specific users, e.g. permit holders only, loading bays during times of operation, taxis, cycles
  • • on a resident's parking bay, unless there are signs showing that you may do so, or you have checked with the Local Authority's Roads Department that you may do so
  • in suspended meter bays or when use of the meter is prohibited
  • where temporary restrictions on parking are in force along a length of road, e.g. as indicated by no-waiting cones
  • on school "keep clear" markings during the hours shown on a yellow no-stopping plate.

You must also NOT park where it would be obstructive or cause a danger to others. The following are likely examples:

  • at school entrances, bus stops, on a bend, or near the brow of a hill or hump bridge
  • where it would make it difficult for others to see clearly, e.g. close to a junction
  • where it would make the road narrow, e.g. by a traffic island or where roadwork is in progress
  • where it would hold up traffic, e.g. in narrow stretches of road or blocking vehicle entrances
  • where emergency vehicles stop or go in and out, e.g. hospital entrances
  • where the kerb has been lowered or the road raised to form a pedestrian crossing
  • on a pavement unless signs permit it
  • in a loading bay unless disabled concession, or a specified time, is displayed on the roadside sign.

Remember

  • If you park where it would cause an obstruction or danger to other road users your vehicle could be removed by the police. You could also be prosecuted and your badge withdrawn.
  • The vehicle must be moved if a police officer or a traffic warden in uniform requests it.

HOW TO USE THE DISABLED PERSON'S PARKING DISC

  • In Scotland and Northern Ireland, there is no time restriction on parking for Blue Badge holders, unless local restrictions apply.
  • In England and Wales you will need a parking disc which must be displayed every time you park. This should be set to show the time of arrival.
  • Badge holders living in Scotland who intend to visit England or Wales should apply to their Local Authority for the loan of a parking disc which can be used for the duration of their stay in England and Wales.
  • Parking discs are not a requirement in Northern Ireland.
  • When you are parking and want to enjoy the benefits of your badge, you must always put it on top of the dashboard or at your windscreen inside your vehicle. The Badge is marked Front - Display this side up. This is so that officials can read it easily from the outside. (If your vehicle does not have a dashboard, you must place your badge where it can be read easily from the outside.) If you do not display your badge correctly, you can be fined.
  • You should only display your Blue Badge when you have parked and are using the benefits of the Scheme. (This rule does not apply in areas which you can only get into by displaying a badge. In these areas, anyone driving a vehicle to pick up and drop off a badge holder should display the badge).
  • Similar badges given to organisations supporting people with disabilities must not be used by non-disabled members for their own benefit. These badges must not be on display except when the vehicle is being used for the benefit of people with disabilities.

If in doubt, display the parking disc.

USING THE BLUE BADGE ABROAD

A standardised European parking card for people with disabilities has been adopted. Badge holders are entitled to the same parking concessions in other EU member states, and in some European countries, that are given to disabled residents of those countries. It is important to check the concession details for the country you are visiting and make sure you apply the rules when you park. It is a good idea to enquire locally before you park, as some countries operate local concessions. A leaflet giving details of participating countries is available from the Scottish Executive (contact details below). Or at: www.iam.org.uk/motoringtrust/advice/parking/ bluebadgeusersparkingineurope.htm, which describes, in the language of each country, that you are entitled to park there. This can be left on your dashboard, next to your Blue Badge. If you are in doubt however, do not park.

ANYONE WHO MISUSES A BLUE BADGE WILL BE LIABLE TO WHATEVER PENALTIES FOR UNLAWFUL PARKING APPLY IN THE COUNTRY IN QUESTION.

ARRANGEMENTS IN CENTRAL LONDON

  • Blue Badge holders are exempt from the London congestion charging but you will need to register a car against your badge.
  • For further information on registering for Congestion Charging in London, you should contact 0845-900-1234 or visit http://www.cclondon.com. Deaf and hard of hearing people may use the textphone service on 020-7649 9123.

If you are planning to visit Central London and intend to use your badge you may wish to enquire what restrictions are in place. More information about parking in London for Blue Badge holders can be obtained from the London Council on: 020-7747 4700.

RED ROUTES

  • Red routes are main roads in Greater London where stopping (for parking or loading) is not allowed except at designated times and in specially marked places. Some of these places are specifically reserved for Blue Badge holders, but you should always check the signs to see what concessions are available. A vehicle displaying a Blue Badge may stop, but only to pick up or set down the badge holder.

MISUSE OF A BADGE

Misuse of a Blue Badge is a serious offence.

  • Your badge can be withdrawn if you misuse it or allow others to misuse it.
  • It is a criminal offence to drive a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge unless the badge holder is in the vehicle, or the vehicle is being driven by someone other than the badge holder for the purpose of entering or leaving an area (which is accessible only to vehicles displaying a Blue Badge) in order to pick up or drop off the holder. If they do so, they are liable to a fine of up to £1,000.
  • Since January 2004 in Scotland, police, traffic wardens and Local Authority car parking attendants have the power to inspect Blue Badges. However, badge holders can ask to see identification before allowing their badge to be inspected. Any identified official will be happy to co-operate.
  • The Power to Inspect Blue Badge legislation is designed to protect the rights of legitimate badge holders and helps to reduce misuse of the badge.

MISUSE OF A DESIGNATED BLUE BADGE PARKING BAY COVERED BY A TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDER

People who are not disabled, and park in a bay designated for Blue Badge holders are liable to a parking fine of up to £1,000. These bays are specifically for the use of people with disabilities only.

OTHER BENEFITS FOR BADGE HOLDERS

In many areas, Local Authorities provide reserved parking places for badge holders. You should use these spaces in preference to parking on yellow lines. Local Authorities may impose a time limit on the use of such spaces. You must always display a valid badge when occupying one of these spaces, and if a time limit is in force a parking disc must also be displayed.

  • Some local authorities also waive charges in their own off-street car parks. You are advised to check the notices in the car park to see if, and where, you can park free of charge.
  • Badge holders are exempted from tolls at the Forth and Tay Bridges.
  • If you think that you may be entitled to an exemption from road tax, you should contact the DVLA Helpline on Tel. 0870-850 0007 for further information. Alternatively, you can contact your local DVLA office.

NEW TRAFFIC SIGNS

Revised Traffic Signs Regulations are in the process of being introduced, which include new sign designs - this means any new or replacement signs erected after the revised regulations come into effect will have to incorporate the Blue Badge symbol, but there may still be some Orange Badge signs which will continue to be valid until 1 January 2010.

CONTACTS

Remember, the Blue Badge Scheme is administered by your Local Authority.

If your badge needs to be replaced, or any personal and other details need to be updated you must contact the Local Authority where the badge was issued.

If your badge is lost or stolen you must report this to the police and also to your Local Authority.

If you have any other comments or questions about the Blue Badge Scheme in Scotland:

Please contact:

Scottish Executive
Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department

Aviation, Ports and International Division
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ


If you require information in respect of the Scheme in England, please contact:
Department for Transport

Personal Mobility Policy Branch
Mobility and Inclusion Unit
Zone 4/23
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DR


For enquiries in respect of Northern Ireland please contact:
Disabled Persons Badge Scheme

Castles Barracks
Wellington Place
Enniskillen
BT74 7HN


For enquiries in respect of Wales, please contact:
Welsh Assembly Government

Transport and Planning Administration Division
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ


For information about the location of disabled parking spaces throughout the UK:www.direct.gov.ukand search for 'disabled parking'