Where blue disabled parking badge holders can park and who is eligible can be confusing, and failure to follow the rules can result in parking fines or having your badge withdrawn. To help you get to grips with what a blue badge is, who can have one and how to use it, we’ve put together this blue badge FAQ:
What is the blue badge scheme?
The blue badge scheme allows disabled people (who meet a certain criteria) to park in ordinarily restricted parking areas. The blue badge is a flat, plastic-coated, double-sided badge, containing a form of identification of the badge holder.
How should I display my blue badge?
The badge must be displayed loose on the dashboard, where it can be clearly read through the windscreen of the vehicle. Failure to display the badge correctly can result in a parking ticket. In England and Wales, the blue badge holder also needs to use and display the issued ‘time clock’ when there is a limit on how long you can park.
I’m a blue badge holder. Where can I park?
Blue badge holders can park in the following places:
- On single, double or dotted yellow lines for as long as they need to, unless there is a ban on loading and unloading in that area.
- At parking meters on the street and in parking areas with pay and display machines for free and for as long as they want.
- On-street areas reserved for valid badge holders, although Local Authorities may impose a time limit in these areas.
Failure to follow these rules can result in a parking ticket and subsequent fine. Even if you follow these rules, you may still be asked to move your vehicle by a police officer or traffic warden. If this happens, you are obliged to move your vehicle.
If you are unsure about what parking restrictions apply in a particular place, you should always check with your Local Authority before assuming you will be ok using your badge.
Where can’t I park?
The blue badge scheme does not apply on private roads, private car parks, in off-street car parks and in some airports. In these areas, there may be some parking spaces for disabled people, but these will be either subject to the conditions imposed by the parking operator or be designated by law and therefore signposted and marked-up accordingly.
Blue badge holders still need to observe all UK parking regulations. This means you must not park:
- In places where there is a ban on loading or unloading
- In a bus, tram or cycle lane during its operating hours
- On any clearway
- On a zebra crossing or pelican crossing
- On zig-zag markings before and after a zebra crossing or pelican crossing or outside schools and hospitals
- In a parking place reserved for specific users, such as residents, local permit holders, or taxis
- In a meter bay that has been suspended or closed off
Even if there are no parking restrictions in force, it is your responsibility to ensure you don’t park in a way that causes an obstruction or danger to other road users, for example close to junctions.
The blue badge only applies if the disabled badge-holder is in the car and is not permitted to be used if the disabled badge holder does not intend to leave the vehicle while it is parked, for example, if the disabled badge holder stays in the car while someone else goes shopping.
If an obstruction or danger is caused or if the badge is misused, then the vehicle may be towed away and the badge could be withdrawn.
For more information, the Government’s Department of Transport has produced a pdf guide to the blue badge scheme.