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A blue badge allows people with a disability to park as close as possible to where they need to be. With the help of a blue badge, those with limited mobility or the inability to walk can find parking and assemble necessary equipment such as a portable wheelchair with increased ease. It is important to note that a blue badge is assigned to the person, not the vehicle, therefore you are free to use it in other cars where you are a passenger, as long as you are getting out of the car at the end destination. 

Rights and responsibilities

With ownership of a blue badge comes a set of rights and responsibilities that you need to be aware of in order to follow the correct guidelines. 

Misuse

Misuse of your blue badge is considered a criminal offence and could result in a fine of up to £1,000 or confiscation of the badge.

Types of misuse include;

  • Sharing your badge with friends and family who are not disabled (the badge can only be used if you are the driver or a passenger with a disability)
  • Using a copy of a badge (only original badges are acceptable)
  • Altering details of your badge
  • Parking in unauthorised locations 

Where you can park

Blue badge use differs depending on where you are parking and for how long. There are often slightly different parking schemes in certain areas, especially in parts of London or at airports.

With a blue badge, you can park for free;

  • On streets with pay and display parking zones with no need for payment and no time limit. 
  • On streets with marked disabled parking bays (check signs for necessary time limits).
  • Single or double yellow lines for up to three hours (only if in a safe location, at least 15m away from a junction and not where there are marked restrictions or loading bays).

Facilities with private parking such as supermarkets, leisure centres or entertainment venues operate following separate rules. However, similarly to on-street parking, there are likely to be marked disabled parking bays in which a blue badge will need to be displayed in order to park there. Payment requirements may vary so always check before travelling to a location with private parking where registered disabled drivers can park or thoroughly read the signs displayed at the location to avoid penalties. 

There are also great resources available online for finding accessible destinations for those with a disability who may use a mobility aid or portable wheelchair. 

How to display

To park in allocated disabled spaces, you MUST clearly display your blue badge in the dashboard or in the window of your car, ensuring it is visible to passersby and traffic wardens.

A blue badge also comes equipped with a parking clock which you can set to show the time you arrived. This needs to be clearly displayed alongside your badge in your dashboard or facia panel if you are parking somewhere with a time limit. When setting the clock, ensure you factor in time to assemble any modes of walking support such as a zimmer frame or portable wheelchair.

It is also essential to make sure your badge hasn’t expired. If it can not be seen or is out of date, you may get a parking ticket.

Further information…

If your situation changes at any point and you are no longer in need of a blue badge, you must return it to your local council. It must also be returned if it has expired, if it becomes damaged or faded, if you have received a replacement and in the event of the death of the badge holder. This is to avoid misuse and ensure your badge doesn’t get into the wrong hands, resulting in potential fines or penalties. Also, if you need to reapply for your badge, be sure to do this in advance, a couple of weeks before it is due to run out.

For any further advice or information, always refer to gov.uk and check specific guidelines within your area or planned location.