Disabled blue badges may be rejected in Europe due to Brexit, drivers warned

·2-min read
Blue badge: Southwark Council confirmed the badge was valid
Blue badge: Southwark Council confirmed the badge was valid

Disabled drivers have been warned that their blue parking badges may not be recognised in some of the most popular EU destinations for British driving holidays, because of Brexit.

Badge-holders could face fines if they try to use their permits in 11 EU countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy after the Government failed to reach an agreement over the status of the badges.

Prior to Brexit, the badges were recognised across the EU. However, two years after the UK left the EU, 11 countries are still “undecided” on whether the badges will be accepted, according to the UK Government website.

The motoring group said the “simply unacceptable” situation left disabled badge holders in limbo, unsure of their rights when travelling abroad.

It warned that disabled drivers could leave themselves at risk of fines if they try to use the permits - which allow holders to park for free and in some restricted areas - while on holiday.

As well as France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, the Government is still in negotiations with the authorities in Iceland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia over the validity of UK Blue Badges.

Jack Cousens, the head of roads policy for the AA, said: “To keep blue badge users in limbo is simply unacceptable. Blue badges are issued because of specific health reasons, and to not have their status confirmed two years down the line is simply outrageous.

“Rather than take a chance, we would encourage blue badge users to use drop-off and collection zones where possible while the car is parked in a non-disabled bay.

“While problematic, it reduces the risk of a vehicle being given a ticket or towed away. While the government website asks blue badge users to ask the consulates for further advice on if their blue badge would be accepted, most could not provide any assurances or advice to the AA.

“Both the UK government and the 11 European nations yet to ratify the status UK-issued blue badges need to resolve the matter urgently and provide clarity for all concerned.”

The problem affecting disabled drivers is not the only one facing British tourists this summer. As Brexit was blamed for queues of up to 11 hours for ferries from Dover to France at the weekend, tourists are being reminded that the UK’s departure from the EU could yet cost them in other ways.

Mobile phone operators including Vodafone have reintroduced roaming charges, as Brexit has released them from the EU-wide pact stating that people shouldn’t be charged extra when travelling inside the bloc.

Alongside this, Britons are now restricted to 90 days at a time in EU countries, and no more than 180 days per year.

Next year, the EU plans to introduce the EES (Entry/Exit System), which will electronically log entries and exits into the EU and automatically capture data on those who overstay.

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