Everything you need to know about using a Blue Badge
What is a Blue Badge?
A Blue Badge is a certificate that you can display in your vehicle’s window to show that you’re entitled to park in disabled parking spaces and other places non-disabled people are otherwise not allowed to park.
Blue Badges are an absolute necessity for disabled drivers and passengers who benefit from parking as close to their destination as possible and need to ensure they’ve got enough space so that getting in and out of their vehicle is safe, easy, and convenient. This includes people who use wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs).
Many disabled parking spaces are monitored to ensure that they’re being used by blue badge holders only. This monitoring is intended to help stop non-disabled drivers from misusing the spaces so they’re available to disabled people whenever they need them.
Who can get a Blue Badge?
You can find a list on the government website which shows who is automatically entitled to a Blue Badge in England, Scotland, or Wales, and in Northern Ireland, and who might be eligible for one in these places.
Certain criteria make you automatically eligible such as receiving the higher mobility rate of DLA, being registered blind, having a ‘moving around’ PIP score of eight or more, or a ‘planning and following journeys’ PIP score of ten or more.
If you don’t automatically qualify, you may still be able to apply for a Blue Badge. This includes people who have difficulties walking, cannot walk at all, or cannot walk without the help of mobility aids.
How can you use a Blue Badge?
When you get your Blue Badge, it will come with instructions for how to use it. This will explain where you can park, how and when to display your badge, when to use a parking clock, and everything else you need to know.
Blue Badges are linked to the disabled person rather than a specific vehicle. This enables you to use the Blue Badge in the vehicles of friends, family, carers, and taxis – but only when you are a passenger. If you’re not the driver of the vehicle, it’s best to make sure the driver knows the Blue Badge rules too.
While a Blue Badge entitles you to park (often for free) in lots of places, having a Blue Badge doesn’t mean you can park anywhere and it’s really important to find out where you can and cannot park to avoid getting into trouble.
Note: The rules for using a Blue Badge are slightly different in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland so make sure you look into these before using your badge to make sure you’re not misusing your badge. Misusing the badge is a criminal offense.
How do you apply for a Blue badge?
To get a new blue badge or renew an existing one, you apply online using the government website in England, Scotland, and Wales, or in Northern Ireland. They’re £10 in England and Northern Ireland, £20 in Scotland, free in Wales, and all typically last for three years.
To apply you will need:
- A photo/scan copy of your ID.
- A photo/scan copy of a proof of your address.
- A photo/scan copy of any benefits you receive such as PIP or DLA.
- Your NI (National Insurance) number.
- A recent digital photo of yourself.
You can apply for a Blue Badge on behalf of someone else if they’re disabled and need your help. You will of course need the above details of the disabled person the Blue Badge will belong to in order to apply on their behalf.
Your local council will then consider your application and decide if you qualify for a badge. The assessment process can take 12 weeks (sometimes longer), so it’s important to make sure you’ve submitted all the information they need to avoid any further delays.
At Cartwright Mobility, we sell wheelchair accessible vehicles so almost all of our customers will have applied for or be applying for Blue Badges so that they can park their WAV in disabled parking spaces. If you need any help or are interested in a WAV, please contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.
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