Why you should have your say on Blue Badges

Business Disability Forum

By Angela Matthews

Should the Blue Badge scheme be extended to people with non-visible conditions?

This question is being asked by the Department for Transport in their current consultation on the ‘Blue Badge’ scheme.

What is the Blue Badge scheme?

The Blue Badge scheme allows people with (predominantly) mobility conditions to park closer to their destination. This is usually related just to on-road parking, but we know through speaking to our Members and Partners that many employers and service providers also use Blue Badges as a way of prioritising parking in accessible parking bays.

The Blue Badge scheme has been in operation since 1970 and, currently, around 2.4million people in England are Blue Badge users. Although the Blue Badge scheme does not exclude people with non-visible disabilities from applying, it is not well-known that people with non-visible conditions can apply.

Our Advice Service receives many calls about parking arrangements for people employees and customers who do not have Blue Badges but would benefit from specific parking arrangements (such as those accessed by Blue Badge holders).

What is the consultation asking?

The scheme’s current eligibility criteria states that Blue Badges are for people who have “a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking”.

The consultation looks at who assesses this criteria and as well as the wording of the eligibility criteria. The prosed criterion reads as follows:

“a person who has an enduring and substantial disability the effect of which is that that person is unable to –

  • walk;
  • undertake any journey without it causing very considerable difficulty when walking;
  • undertake any journey without there being a risk of very considerable harm to the health or safety of that person or any other person;
  • follow the route of any journey without another person, assistance animal or orientation aid.”

What do you think?

We would like to hear from the following organisations:

  • Local authorities who issue Blue Badges;
  • Employers who have received questions or have cases where employees use Blue Badges to park at work;
  • Service providers – particularly supermarkets and retailers.

We are also speaking to many disabled employee networks to seek views from people with non-visible conditions who think they would benefit from the revised eligibility criteria.

How to respond

If you would like to contribute to our response by sharing your views and experiences with us, please contact us at advice@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk

The deadline for contributions is Friday 9 March 2018.

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