Disabled parking: Blue badge made available to those with “hidden disabilities”

Tue Jul 2018

The Department of Transport has confirmed that, from 2019 onwards, members of the public with “hidden disabilities” will be granted access to blue badge parking permits, enabling them to park closer to their destinations. This change represents the biggest change to disabled parking in 40 years.

From the beginning of next year, those with less obvious disabilities, including mental health problems and autism, will have the same right to park in disabled spaces as those with more obvious physical disabilities. The change comes following an eight-week consultation earlier this year, which received more than 6,000 responses and highlighted the ways in which those with mental health issues often faced similar struggles when travelling to those with physical disabilities.

What constitutes a “hidden disability”?

“Hidden disabilities” functions as an umbrella term, encompassing a whole spectrum of disabilities. This includes not only mental health issues, but also some physical disabilities which do not always require a wheelchair or crutches and are thus not necessarily visible to the human eye. This can include physical conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Some of the most common “hidden disabilities” include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Agoraphobia
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Coeliac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis
  • Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME)
  • Epilepsy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Lupus
  • Cystic fibrosis

Who will be able to apply for a blue badge?

In addition to those with physical disabilities, blue badge parking permits will now be open to all members of the public who cannot travel without “a risk of serious harm to health or safety”, including children. The scheme will also be opened to those who find that travelling causes “considerable physical distress”, or have difficulty with “both the physical act and experience of walking”.

What does a blue badge grant you with?

blue badge costs £10 from local authorities and grants you with the right to park in spaces reserved specifically for blue badge holders. You are also permitted to park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, providing there is not a “no loading” sign present.

It is also possible to request a disabled parking space near to your home, but the rules regarding just who can apply for this tend to vary between authorities, so it is advised to check with your local council if you wish to find out if you are eligible.

What difference will the new regulations make?

The current rules regarding who is entitled to a blue badge do not explicitly exclude hidden disabilities, but are “open to interpretation” by local authorities, so it is hoped that the new changes will provide greater clarity on this matter.

75% of blue badge holders say that they would go out less often were they not in possession of a blue badge, so it is hoped that the new changes will provide a new level of freedom and support to those with hidden disabilities, such that they can go about their daily activities with greater ease.

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

Disabled Parking with HX Car Park Management

Travel and parking are growing problems that affects the lives of disabled people throughout the UK. Unfortunately, disabled parking is often abused. People often park in these bays, despite having no right to, because they are usually located close to the place they want to be, especially in bad weather. This is, of course, not fair on those people that have a legitimate need for these spaces.

When HX Car Park Management is commissioned to complete regular checks on these disabled parking spaces, the level of abuse that these bays receive has been shown to drop dramatically.

HX Car Park Management can give you:

  • Enforcement service
  • Signage installation
  • Control over and reduction of abusive parking
  • Increased customer satisfaction

With the use of our ‘Disabled Parking Only’ parking schemes, we are able to enforce parking restrictions on those who abuse your disabled parking facilities. Should a motorist without a blue badge decide to park in a disabled bay, we can issue them with either a parking charge notice (PCN) or a warning notice.

Disabled parking is often overlooked by car park management firms, but HX Car Park Management fully understand how important these bays are to the people in need.

With a proactive car park management scheme monitoring your disabled parking, it is guaranteed that the level of abuse will reduce dramatically. In turn, those customers and staff who need these bays can park where they are entitled to park and go about their daily business with as little hassle as possible. To find out more, contact HX Car Park Management today on 03330 066316.

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