People with non-physical (‘hidden’) disabilities will soon be able to apply for a Blue Badge for parking, following the introduction of new criteria from the Department for Transport.
From 30 August, drivers or passengers with less visible disabilities, such as dementia or anxiety disorders will be able to apply for a Blue Badge alongside applicants who have very considerable difficulty walking.
The aim of the scheme is to help disabled people access goods and services, by allowing them to park closer to their destination.
The new extended criteria marks a big change to the Blue Badge scheme following an extensive independent programme of work undertaken on behalf of the Department for Transport.
The changes are designed to enhance the lives of people whose non-physical disabilities make travelling by road difficult.
Brighton & Hove City Council supports the extension of Blue Badges to people with non-physical disabilities and took part in the government’s consultation in 2018.
Council officers, who have already started preparing for the new applications, include an expert assessor who will make recommendations for people who are not automatically entitled to a Blue Badge.
Assessments will be made on a ‘case by case’ basis following Department for Transport guidance.
The expanded scheme also includes a new task force to help councils tackle fraudulent use of the badges.
The scheme also aims to increase public awareness of which groups are eligible for Blue Badges, when they can and cannot be used, and how to surrender badges when they are no longer needed, for example if the badge holder dies.
Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee said: "This change to Blue Badge guidance has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of residents with hidden disabilities, enabling them to travel with greater ease and live more independent lives.”
For more information visit the Blue Badge page on our website.