Blue Badge scheme to be extended to hidden disabilities
Blue Badge scheme to be extended to hidden disabilities, including autism and mental health conditions.
People with hidden disabilities, including autism and mental health conditions will soon have access to Blue Badges, removing the barriers many face to travel. The Blue Badge scheme already means those with physical disabilities can park closer to their destination than other drivers, as they are less able to take public transport or walk longer distances.
In the biggest overhaul to the scheme since the 1970s, this will now be extended to those with less visible conditions early next year.
The new criteria will extend eligibility to people who:
- cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
- cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
- have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking)
The changes follow an 8-week consultation and are part of the government’s drive for greater parity between physical and mental health conditions.
Presently people with non-physical disabilities are not excluded from receiving a Blue Badge, but the current rules are open to interpretation. The new criteria will give clear and consistent guidelines on Blue Badge eligibility for the whole of England.
The consultation, which ran from 21 January 2018 to 8 March 2018, received more than 6,000 responses from across the country.
The Department for Transport will now work with stakeholders to develop new guidance to help them administer their Blue Badge schemes when these changes come into force. Enfield Disability Action will keep you updated via our newsletter and website.