Millions of more people will soon be eligible to apply for blue badge parking permits following the biggest shake up of the scheme in 50 years.
The permits will be extended to people who have less visible disabilities, such as anxiety or dementia, in a bid to make journeys more accessible.
The Department of Transport have announced that the changes to the blue badge scheme will come into place from August 30 this year.
These new guidelines for the parking permits are the biggest shake up since 1970 and the government says that it will offer a lifeline to people who often find road travel difficult.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “As a society we don’t do enough for people with hidden disabilities.
“I hope this change to Blue Badge guidance will make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Here is all you need to know:
What is changing with the blue badges?
The parking permit scheme is being extended and will allow millions more to be able to apply for one.
People who suffer from hidden disabilities will now be eligible for blue badges.
This includes those suffering from autism, mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and dementia.
Who will be eligible for blue badges now?
The new criteria will extend eligibility to people who:
- cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
- cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
- have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking).
Although people with non-physical disabilities are not excluded from receiving a Blue Badge, the current rules are open to interpretation. The new criteria will give clear and consistent guidelines on Blue Badge eligibility for the whole of England.
The expanded scheme coincides with the launch of a new task force to toughen up enforcement and help councils tackle fraudulent use of the badges.
When do the changes come into force?
People with hidden or less visible disabilities will be eligible for blue badges from August 30 this year.