How is the Blue Badge scheme changing?

As new ideas are worked up to help benefit those in need, there are always going to be fraudsters who try to exploit it for their own benefit. In this case it is the exploitation of the disabled parking system. Transport Minister Norman Baker has said that new measures, in effect from January 1st 2012, are being set in place to battle the fraudsters.

In the past, people who qualified for a disabled parking permit would be given a blue card which would feature handwriting on its face (easily forgeable) and which would be displayed on the vehicles windscreen to allow parking attendants to check.

This small piece of card was easily forgeable and this fraud is estimated to cost the UK £46 million a year. But now there is a new ‘Blue Badge’ to stop the fraudsters.

So what is the new Blue Badge?

The new Blue Badge is no longer made of card but is electronically printed and uses a unique hologram to indicate its legitimacy. This makes it harder to forge and also makes it easier for parking attendants to check its authenticity.

Who is eligible for a Blue Badge?

There are different ways of being eligible. People who; are blind, receive mobility allowance, are in receipt of Attendance Allowance at the higher rate, receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement, have a substantial disability which causes inability to walk approximately 100 metres or have a severe disability in both arms and cannot turn the steering wheel are automatically eligible for a Blue Badge.

What does it mean to have a Blue Badge?

With a Blue Badge you can park in disabled parking spaces in supermarkets for example which are located nearer to the entrance, so if need be you can access your vehicle easier. Blue Badge holders can also park on double yellow lines for up to three hours and park at parking meters for free and as long as they like.

Other features of the new Blue Badge scheme?

The new scheme supplies better customer service for badge holders and allows them to apply or renew badges online. The scheme is also being extended to more children under the age of three years old and severely disabled Armed Forces personnel and veterans.

What does Norman Baker think about the new scheme?

“Motorists who pretend to be disabled to get some free parking are frankly disgraceful. They prevent real Blue Badge holders from using parking bays designed for those genuinely in need and they cheat the vast majority of road users who play fair when they park their cars.

“Our new Blue Badge will be as secure as a banknote and anyone thinking of faking it can forget it. We are also tightening up on enforcement and eligibility so there will be no way to scam the system.”

People who are also eligible for the Blue Badge scheme may also be eligible for Perry’s motability scheme. Click here for more information on motability.