Government Issues Review of Blue Badge Scheme

Tue Sep 2021

In 2019, the government extended the eligibility criteria of the Blue Badge scheme in England to people with non-visible disabilities. This meant that members of the public with “hidden disabilities” were granted access to Blue Badge parking permits, enabling them to park closer to their destinations. This change represented the biggest change to disabled parking in 40 years.

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.

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

blue badge

The 2021 Blue Badge Review

Valtech, the provider of the Blue Badge Digital Service, was commissioned by the Department for Transportation to seek feedback from local authorities, as well as those who utilise the Blue Badge scheme, in England to review the scheme following its expansion to include those with non-visible disabilities.

39,000 more Blue Badges were issued in 2020 than were in 2019, 26,000 of which were granted under the new eligibility criteria. However, the review highlighted some issues encountered by authorities and applicants, particularly with regards to difficulties providing evidence of non-visible disabilities in order to support applications.

Graham Footer, chief executive of Disabled Motoring UK, said, “While we welcome the review, we are concerned that the period and data being assessed is distorted by the pandemic and not a true reflection of the impact of the changes to the eligibility criteria. Our main issue is that there will be a sizable increase in the number of Blue Badges issued but not an exponential increase in disabled parking bays, which will reduce the effectiveness of the scheme. We are also troubled by the lack of uniformity in the way applications are assessed, which creates a ‘postcode lottery’ for applicants, depending on where they live.”

As Footer rightly points out, an increase in the number of Blue Badges issued must be mirrored by an increase in the availability of disabled parking spaces. This potential crisis in supply also makes it more important than ever that disabled parking is properly enforced, such that these bays are always open to the increasing number of Blue Badge holders who actually need them.

disabled parking spaces

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 provide:

  • 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. 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, or email sales@hx-pcn.com.

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