Changes to the eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge scheme will come into effect on 30th August 2019.
Following a consultation in 2018 the government announced that it will be extending the Blue Badge eligibility criteria to include people with ‘hidden disabilities’ such as dementia, autism and a number of mental health conditions. The new legislation has now been confirmed and after the 30th August 2019 people with ‘hidden’ disabilities will find it easier to obtain a Blue Badge.
From this date the assessed criteria will now be that a person who has been certified by an expert assessor as having an enduring and substantial disability which causes them, during the course of a journey, to be unable to walk;
experience very considerable difficulty whilst walking, which may include very considerable psychological distress; or
be at risk of serious harm when walking; or pose, when walking, a risk of serious harm to any other person;
The legislation also removes the requirement of an ‘independent mobility assessor’ and is replaced by the term ‘expert assessor’.
Disabled Motoring UK has responded to the news by pointing out some potential issues that an increase in blue badge holders might bring:
DMUK CEO, Graham Footer commented: “DMUK works to support the mobility of disabled people and there is no dispute that people with certain mental health conditions and cognitive disabilities could benefit from having a Blue Badge. However, the charity is very concerned that from August onwards numbers of Blue Badge holders will dramatically increase which will put more pressure on limited disabled parking which is poorly enforced and in some areas of the country not enforced at all. We are asking that all local authorities and private operators review their disabled parking provision now, before the change comes into force to make sure that they can manage increased demand.”