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Tuesday, 20 October 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.

Displaying the Blue Badge

You should display your badge  on the dashboard or facia panel of your car where it can be clearly read through the windscreen. The front of the badge should face upwards, showing the wheelchair symbol.

When no parking concessions are being used, badges should be removed from view.

The associated time clock only needs to be displayed when you are parking on yellow lines or in a Blue Badge parking bay that has a time limit. In both cases, you should set the time of arrival on the clock and display it next to your badge on the dashboard or facia panel.

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 and other disabled people are exempt from tolls at certain river crossings, bridges and tunnels. In most cases, you will have to apply in advance to qualify for a concession.

There is some information about tolls 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.

Showing a Blue Badge for inspection

Enforcement officers are allowed to inspect Blue Badges. Enforcement officers include:

  • police officers
  • traffic wardens
  • local authority parking attendants
  • civil enforcement officers

These people should produce an identity card with their photograph on it to prove they are who they say they are.

If an enforcement officer asks to see your badge, you must show it to them. If you do not, you will be breaking the law and could be fined up to £1,000.

Enforcement officers are not allowed to take away a Blue Badge. Only the police can seize Blue Badges.

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.

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.

If you think that a Blue Badge is being misused, report the matter to your local council. Try to get as many details as possible from the badge on display (name, serial number, expiry date etc). The council will investigate and take action if the badge can be shown to be displayed fraudulently.

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