New regulations for the Blue Badge scheme will be laid before Parliament in April 2019, the Government has revealed.
Headway, the brain injury charity, has welcomed the news, saying the proposals will help people affected by non-physical disabilities with parking.
Dr Clare Mills, Public Affairs Manager for Headway, said: “We are pleased to hear that the plans to extend the scheme are being put into effect and that people with hidden disabilities, including acquired brain injury, will be included in the Blue Badge scheme from spring 2019.”
The Blue Badge scheme is currently only available to those with physical disabilities. It means anyone with a blue badge can park closer to local shops and amenities than other drivers who may be able to walk longer distances.
The scheme was first introduced in the 1970s, but it will now be extended to people with ‘hidden disabilities’ – including those with brain injuries, autism and mental health conditions.
According to the Department for Transport (DfT), the new criteria will extend eligibility to people who:
- cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
- cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
- have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking)
Ms Mills added: “Once legislation is in place, we’ll be asking brain injury survivors, their families and carers to let us know if they still experience problems in obtaining a Blue Badge. But hopefully this will be a seamless transition.”