New Blue Badge update for people making a first-time application or renewal for the parking permit

The Department for Transport has shared an update on processing times for new and renewal applications for the Blue Badge scheme. Guy Opperman MP explained the end-to-end journey time takes around 12 weeks and local authorities are “solely responsible for administering the scheme, including issuing the badges”.

He added there are “no timescales set for administering applications”, but guidelines suggest local councils aim to complete them within the 12 weeks timeframe. Mr Opperma’s comments came after Labour MP Ian Lavery asked if the the Department for Transport is “taking steps to reduce processing times for Blue Badge applications”.

In a written response on Monday, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary added: “The Department has a programme of continuous improvement to the Blue Badge Digital Service. Working closely with local authorities and citizen users as part of its National Disability Strategy commitments, the Department’s aim is to make online badge applications quicker and easier for both applicants and local authorities.”

If you have a physical disability or health condition that affects your walking ability, or have a hidden illness such as dementia, autism or Parkinson's, you may be able to get a Blue Badge to help you park closer to the places you want to go.

A Blue Badge holder travelling either as a driver or a passenger can park for free in disabled parking bays and you may be exempt from other parking restrictions.

However, many people who have a Blue Badge may be unaware it can also be used with any car you are travelling in - at any time of the day - including taxis. This simple piece of plastic can also be used abroad, although since Brexit the UK Government is currently negotiating which EU countries will still accept it.

The simple piece of blue plastic only costs £20 in Scotland and is valid for three years. There is no set processing time for new applications or renewals, but it can take around 12 weeks. Your local council processes Blue Badge applications and sets the price - they will be able to advise how long it might take.

Below is everything you need to know about the Blue Badge application process.

Who can get a Blue Badge?

In some cases, you may automatically qualify for a Blue Badge and in others, your local council will assess your eligibility. This may include going to a mobility assessment and meeting a healthcare professional.

You will automatically qualify for a Blue Badge in Scotland if you:

  • are under 16 and have a letter confirming your eligibility from your visual impairment care team

  • are 16 or over and registered or certified as severely sight impaired

  • get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

  • get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and scored 8 points or more in the 'moving around' area of your assessment

  • get PIP and scored 12 points in the 'planning and following a journey' area of your assessment

  • get PIP and used to get the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA on an indefinite or lifetime basis

  • get PIP, used to get the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA, and your PIP decision is being appealed

  • get Adult Disability Payment (ADP) and have been awarded either 8 points or more in the Moving Around activity or 12 points in the Planning and Following a Journey activity or enhanced rate mobility without reference to points

  • get the higher rate of the mobility component of Child Disability Payment

  • get War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement

  • got a lump sum payment from tariffs 1 to 8 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability

Who else could qualify for a Blue Badge?

If you are not automatically eligible, you may be able to get a Blue Badge in certain circumstances.

For example, if you:

  • have a substantial disability lasting at least 12 months that means you cannot walk at all

  • have a substantial disability lasting at least 12 months that means you're virtually unable to walk

  • regularly drive and cannot use parking meters because of a severe disability in both arms

  • are responsible for a child under 3-years-old who needs to be kept close to a vehicle for medical treatment

  • are responsible for a child under 3-years-old who uses bulky medical equipment that cannot be carried around

  • have a mental health condition that means you lack awareness about the danger of traffic when making journeys

Where can I park with my Blue Badge?

You can use your Blue Badge to park in certain restricted areas for free, including:

  • at on-street parking meters

  • in pay and display bays

  • in disabled parking spaces

  • on single and double yellow lines if there are no loading restrictions

Using your badge in other parts of the UK

You can use your Blue Badge in most other countries. If you're using your Blue Badge in England or Wales you will need to use a parking clock - this comes with your Blue Badge.

The Timer Clock is a plastic dial with hands that can be adjusted to show the time of parking arrival.

What do I need to apply?

Applications are made online to your local council and you’ll need a recent digital photo showing your head and shoulders - you can take this picture yourself.

You will also need a photo or scan of your:

  • proof of identity (such as a birth certificate, passport or driving licence)

  • proof of address such as a Council Tax bill or government letter - you can also choose to have your local council check the Electoral Register instead

  • proof of benefits - if you get any

You will also need to know:

  • your National Insurance number

  • the details of your current Blue Badge - if you’re reapplying

Once you apply, your local council will process your application and give you a decision.

If you are turned down

Your local council should tell you why you’re not eligible. You can ask them to reconsider their decision if you think they haven’t taken into account some important information.

You can also reapply if your disability or health condition becomes more serious. Apply for a Blue Badge on the website here.

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