Blue badge scheme extended to those with hidden disabilities

The Blue Badge scheme will be extended to those with 'hidden' or non-physical disabilities.
The Blue Badge scheme will be extended to those with 'hidden' or non-physical disabilities.

The Government is today (August 30) extending the Blue Badge scheme to people who have a ‘hidden’ or non-physical condition or disability causing them to severely struggle with journeys

The Blue Badge scheme currently helps those with severe mobility problems to park closer to their destination.

In Lincolnshire, applications are dealt with by the county council.

At the end of August, the Government is extending the eligibility criteria to include people who have an enduring and substantial disability which causes them, during the course of a journey, to be unable to walk or experience very considerable difficulty whilst walking.

Difficulties may include very considerable psychological distress or be at risk of serious harm when walking.

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transport at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “These changes will offer a lifeline to those with hidden disabilities, giving them greater independence.

“This should make it easier for them to access work and stay connected with family and friends.

“Hopefully, this will make a real difference to people.”

The easiest way to apply for a blue badge is the government’s online application process - find out more at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/bluebadge .

Alternatively, you can download an application form to complete, returning it to the Blue Badge Team at County Offices, Newland, Lincoln LN1 1YL.

There is a £10 fee, but unsuccessful applications will not be charged.

To coincide with the launch of the extended scheme, the Department for Transport is setting up a new task force to toughen up enforcement and help local authorities tackle fraudulent use of the badges.

Councillor Davies added: “Thankfully, there has been no indication of significant misuse of blue badges in Lincolnshire.

“However, if a complaint is made, so long as there is sufficient evidence, we will take action.

“People misusing blue badges in Lincolnshire need to be aware they are risking being taken to court.

“It is a criminal offence for non-disabled people to use a badge and they could be fined up to £1,000.”

• If you are aware of misuse of a blue badge, you can report it online via www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/bluebadge .