Blue Badge scheme to be extended to those with ‘hidden disabilities’

People with less obvious illnesses will be able to park closer to their destination like those with physical disabilities.

People with “hidden disabilities” such as autism and mental health conditions will be able to get blue badge parking permits under an overhaul of the system.

From next year, those with less immediately obvious illnesses will be eligible for the badges, allowing the holder to park closer to their destination like those with physical disabilities.

Although the current rules do not bar people with non-physical disabilities, the Department for Transport (DfT) says they are “open to interpretation” and require greater clarity.

The Blue Badge scheme in Scotland was permanently extended in December to cover carers and relatives of people with conditions such as dementia, autism and Down’s Syndrome.

Who will be able to get a Blue Badge?

The new criteria will extend eligibility to people who:

  • Cannot make a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
  • Cannot make a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
  • Have very considerable difficulty when walking

You can apply for a new badge or renew one on the Government website.

What does a Blue Badge do?

The Blue Badge scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you’re disabled.

The badge is recognised in all European countries and allows you to make use of the same parking concessions as the country’s own citizens with a disability.

You can find out where you can park with a Blue Badge using the Government website.

What does the Government say?

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “Blue badges are a lifeline for disabled people, giving them the freedom and confidence to get to work and visit friends independently.

“The changes we have announced today will ensure that this scheme is extended equally to people with hidden disabilities so that they can enjoy the freedoms that many of us take for granted.”

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