The idea of the Blue Badge Scheme is to encourage disabled people to be able to travel independently, either as a driver or a passenger, by allowing them to park close to their destination.
Being able to park on a yellow line directly outside a shop
for that forgotten item can be a great convenience – particularly in bad weather.
It is worth knowing that, although concessions apply to on-street parking nationally, the Blue Badge is NOT a ticket to universal free parking. Concessions do not apply to off-street car parks, such as supermarkets, airports or cinema car parks, or privately owned roads.
In their leaflet ‘The Blue Badge Scheme: Rights and Responsibilities in England’, The Department for Transport remind us: “The Blue Badge is not a licence to park anywhere. If you park where it would cause an obstruction or danger to other road users, your vehicle could be towed away”.
To get the most benefit out of the system (and to avoid paying parking fines!) make sure you understand the rules outlined in the leaflet ‘The Blue Badge Scheme: Rights and Responsibilities in England’ which can be accessed online via www.dft.gov.uk or ordered in a variety of formats by phone on 0300 123102.
You will also find Directgov’s interactive Blue Badge map indispensable when travelling around. It’s available online and will help you find Blue Badge parking bays, local council parking rules, accessible public toilets, train stations, shopmobility centres, accessible beaches and much more near you and across the UK.
Although the scheme is nationwide, there are small variations depending on where you live. Visit the relevant website below for more information:
10 things you need to know about the Blue Badge:
- Most badges are issued for 3 years
- You may not need to be registered disabled – you could qualify, for instance, if you have a serve disability in both arms and are unable (or would find it very difficult) to operate all or some types of parking meter.
- You can get one if you are 2 years old and have a qualifying disability.
- You do not need to own a car or be able to drive to get a Blue Badge – it is personal to you and can be used in any car you are travelling in, as a driver or a passenger.
- You must apply to your local council who are responsible for issuing the permits.
- Badge holders may park for free and for as long as they need to, at on-street parking meters and pay-and-display machines unless there is a traffic sign specifying a time limit for Blue Badge holders.
- The scheme applies to on-street car parking and will not give you free parking in pay car parks, although all should provide bays reserved exclusively for disabled drivers.
- Badge holders are allowed to park on single or double yellow lines for up to 3 hours in England and Wales except where there is a ban on loading or unloading.
- There is no time limit for parking on yellow lines in Scotland.
- The badge and its concessions are for your use only and are your responsibility – never loan your badge to friends or relatives unless they are driving you. It is a criminal offence for you or anyone else to misuse your badge and can lead to a £1,000 fine.