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Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Blue Badge Scheme

The Blue Badge Scheme provides a range of parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport. This enables badge holders to park close to where they need to go. The scheme operates throughout the UK.

About the scheme

The concessions provided under the scheme apply to on-street parking only.

Badge holders may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three 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.

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 holders of Blue Badges.

Where a time limit is in force, you must display both the Blue Badge and the special blue parking disc showing time of arrival.

While the scheme operates throughout the UK, there are small variations in its application in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Please see the relevant website for further information. The information on this page relates to England unless specified.

Where the scheme does not apply

The Blue Badge Scheme does not apply to off-street car parks, private roads and at most airports.

You can find airport plans showing the location of parking spaces for disabled people on the Blue Badge map.

The scheme does not fully apply in four central London boroughs:

  • City of London
  • City of Westminster
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • part of the London Borough of Camden

You can find Blue Badge bays in these central London areas on the Blue Badge map.

London congestion charge

Blue Badge holders qualify for a 100 per cent exemption from the London Congestion Charge, but you must register with Transport for London (TfL) at least 10 days before your journey and pay a one-off £10 registration fee. You can download a registration form from the TfL website.

Telephone: 0845 900 1234

Textphone: 020 7649 9123

Toll concessions

Blue Badge holders are exempt from tolls at certain river crossings, bridges and tunnels.

In some cases, you will have to apply in advance to qualify for a concession.

The Department for Transport's website has a list of bridges and tunnels where concessions apply. You can also choose tolls as a feature to be shown on the Blue Badge map.

Using your Blue Badge abroad

Blue Badges can be used throughout the UK and in some other European countries.

The UK has reciprocal parking arrangements with other European Union (EU) countries and some other European countries. There are currently no arrangements with countries outside Europe.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), an independent road safety charity, publishes a booklet with detailed information about the use of the Blue Badge in European countries. The booklet can be downloaded from the IAM website.

When travelling outside Europe, it is best to take your badge with you and check in the areas you are visiting to see whether you are entitled to use your badge.

There is further information on the Department for Transport's website.

Who can have a Blue Badge

You are automatically eligible for a badge if you are over two years old and either:

  • receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
  • are registered blind
  • receive a War Pensioner's Mobility Supplement

You may also be eligible for a badge if you are over two years old and either:

  • have a permanent and substantial disability which means you cannot walk, or which makes walking very difficult
  • drive a motor vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both arms, and are unable or would find it very difficult to operate all or some types of parking meter

If you are a parent of a child who is less than two years old, you may apply for a badge for your child if they have a specific medical condition which means that they either:

  • must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around without great difficulty
  • 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

How to apply for a Blue Badge

Local councils are responsible for issuing Blue Badge parking permits. Contact your council to apply for a Blue Badge.

The following service will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local council website where you can apply for a Blue Badge or find out more.

Please note that this service is only available for councils in England.

Misuse of the Blue Badge

Local councils can take away a badge if the badge holder misuses it - for example, by allowing other people to use it.

If you have a badge, it must only be used for your benefit. If a trip is for someone else and you are a passenger and staying in the car, you cannot use the badge to let them benefit from free parking.

Blue Badges must  be displayed in accordance with the regulations that govern the scheme. They state that badges should be displayed on the dashboard or facia panel of the vehicle with the side showing the wheelchair symbol facing upward where it can be clearly seen through the windscreen. When no parking concessions are being used, badges should be removed from view.

It is an offence for people other than the badge holder to take advantage of the parking concessions provided under the scheme. The maximum fine if someone is convicted is £1,000 plus any additional penalty for the related parking offence.

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