IT’S CERTAINLY got its good points — but there’s no doubt about it, the Blue Badge Parking Scheme is definitely in need of some urgent repair work!
We’ve been promised government action to stop the widespread abuse of the scheme, but, as you all know, we’re still waiting.
So what’s the scheme all about, and how do you legitimately get hold of a badge?
Well, it is aimed at those with severe walking difficulties who travel either as drivers or as passengers.
Registered blind people and those with severe upper limb disabilities who cannot turn a steering wheel by hand are also eligible.
The concessions only apply to on-street parking and include free use of parking meters and pay-and-display bays.
Providing you are not causing an obstruction and that you display your badge and clock, you can park for up to three hours on single and double yellow lines in England and Wales.
There’s no time limit in Scotland, except where there is a ban on loading and unloading.
You may qualify for a badge if you:
- are receiving the higher rate of the Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance
- are receiving a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- use a motor vehicle supplied by a government health department
- are a registered blind person
- have severe disability in both upper limbs, drive a motor vehicle regularly but cannot turn the steering wheel by hand even if that wheel is fitted with a turning knob
- have a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking
The badges can be used throughout the UK and while travelling abroad within the European Union (EU) and in some other European countries.
Remember, though, you won’t be able to use the badge at off-street car parks, private roads or at most airports.
They are of no use, too, in central London and in some town centres where access is prohibited or limited to vehicles with special permits issued locally.
Want to apply for a badge? Apply to your local social services department at your council.