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People living with disabilities such as a mental health condition and autism, will be eligible next year for a Blue Badge parking permit.

From 2019, people with ‘hidden disabilities’, less obvious illness and disabilities, will have the right to a parking permit, allowing them to park in places not available to others.

The current rules for Blue Badges do not necessarily exclude people with non-physical disabilities, according to the Department for Transport. But while the criteria have been open to interpretation by local authorities, these new rules will provide more clarity across the country.

In December 2017, Scotland’s Blue Badge scheme was permanently extended to include carers and relatives of those with conditions like Down’s Syndrome, dementia and autism.

What is a Blue Badge?

The Blue Badge scheme helps people park closer to their destination if they have a disability. The scheme is recognised all across Europe. People can benefit from the same parking concessions as people with a disability already living in the country.

The permit costs £10 and is available from local authorities. Badge holders can park on double or a single yellow line for up to three hours, unless there is a “no loading” sign.

What are ‘hidden disabilities’?

The term ‘hidden disabilities’ is used to describe a wide spectrum of conditions which range from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, to physical disabilities such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Other common hidden disabilities include:

  • Agoraphobia
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Bipolar
  • Coeliac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis
  • Chronic pain
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Myalgic Encephalopathy or ‘ME’
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Who will be eligible for a Blue Badge?

The criteria for a Blue Badge will be extended to include people who are unable to make a journey without it causing them considerable psychological distress, a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of another person. This includes young children with autism. The criteria has also been extend to people who have considerable difficulty with walking.

You can find out more about the Blue Badge scheme and how to apply for a new badge on the Government website.


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