Department for Transport
People with hidden disabilities could enjoy new freedom with Blue Badge changes
Consultation expanding the Blue Badge criteria released.
People with hidden disabilities could soon have greater access to blue badges under new plans from Transport Minister Jesse Norman published yesterday (21 January 2018).
The proposals, which would herald the most significant changes since the blue badge was introduced in 1970, would help remove barriers to travel for people with conditions such as dementia and autism, allowing them better access to work, shops and amenities. This could also further help create parity between physical and mental health, and means everyone can take advantage of every opportunity.
Currently, about 2.4 million disabled people in England have a blue badge, allowing them to park on roads without charge and normally without time limit. Around 75% of blue badge holders say they would go out less often if they didn’t have one.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman said:
Blue badges give people with disabilities the freedom to get jobs, see friends or go to the shops with as much ease as possible.
We want to try to extend this to people with invisible disabilities, so they can enjoy the freedom to get out and about, where and when they want.
The changes could also see a variety of healthcare professionals, who are better placed to identify if mental health causes mobility issues, carry out assessments to determine if a blue badge should be given.
Sarah Lambert, Head of Policy at the National Autistic Society, said:
The National Autistic Society welcomes this government proposal. It could mean that many more autistic people will qualify for a Blue Badge, which can be a lifeline.
There are an estimated 700,000 autistic people in the UK and whilst every person on the autism spectrum is different, for some, not being able to park in a predictable place close to a destination can cause a great deal of anxiety and put their safety at risk. Some autistic people can experience too much information from the environment around them on public transport, while other autistic people might not be aware of dangers on the road.
However, current Blue Badge rules mean that all-too-often autistic people don’t qualify. The National Autistic Society has raised this issue with government over recent years and we are pleased to see they have listened to the concerns of autistic people and their families. We hope the government will make this important change and we look forward to working with them to make sure that autistic people and their families benefit.
Councils have different interpretations of the existing rules with some recognising hidden disabilities, but the changes proposed would give a clear and consistent guidelines for the whole of England.
The consultation will last 8 weeks.
Roads media enquiries
Media enquiries 020 7944 3021
Out of hours media enquiries 020 7944 4292
Switchboard 0300 330 3000
Latest News from
Department for Transport
Multimillion pound government funding boost for children’s cycle training14/10/2019 09:25:00
Bikeability programme gets further funding after it celebrates teaching 3 million children bike safety skills.
New A14 bypass to open a year early14/10/2019 08:05:00
New dual carriageway between Cambridge and Huntingdon will open in December 2019.
Government signs contracts securing continued flow of vital medicines after Brexit11/10/2019 16:30:00
Companies ready to deliver capacity equivalent to thousands of HGVs per week.
Ministers highlight vital projects around the country as government drives infrastructure revolution10/10/2019 17:05:00
Investment in road, rail, port and digital infrastructure to improve links and drive growth.
Transport Minister visits 26th World Road Congress in Abu Dhabi08/10/2019 11:10:00
UK's highways expertise promoted at world's largest roads event.
Events to help you get ready for Brexit04/10/2019 14:25:00
Departments across government are holding events to help your business get ready for Brexit.
18 new roads move a step closer to completion01/10/2019 16:10:00
A first wave of funding announced which will enable 18 new road schemes to move on to the next stage of development.
RVAR Exemption – Strathclyde Partnership for Transport: Glasgow Subway01/10/2019 15:10:00
Public consultation page for RVAR exemption applications.