The Blue Badge, also known as a disabled parking permit, allows those with disabilities to park in specialised parking spaces that are typically closer to their destination, providing a big help to those with mobility issues.
As such, a Blue badge is a vital part of a disabled driver’s armoury, but it’s important to always check when yours is up for renewal as you’ll need to follow some simple steps to ensure it remains valid for use.
How long does a Blue Badge last for?
If you’ve recently acquired a Blue Badge, you can rest easy knowing that it will last for three years before needing to be renewed again.
The only exception to this rule is if you have been given a temporary Blue Badge as a benefit award, meaning you’ll only be entitled to it until your specified end date unless your circumstances change.
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How do I renew my Blue Badge?
If your three years are coming up, or if you're applying for a Blue Badge for a first time, you’ll need to fill out an online application form via the GOV.UK portal.
However, if you live in Scotland, you’ll need to apply through their specific Blue Badge Scheme. Similarly, if you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to fill out your application via N.I Direct.
You’ll need a number of things to hand to help fill out your Blue Badge application form, so we recommend ensuring you have them all before starting your application. These include:
- Details of your current Blue Badge
- A digital photo
- Your National Insurance Number
- Proof of identification
- Proof of residency
There can be a lot of pages to fill out, so if you aren’t able to complete it in one go you’ll be able to save your application to return to at a later date. We also recommend saving your Blue Badge application at regular intervals to make sure you don’t have to start again if there is a problem!
Your application will also give you a reference number. Be sure to make a note of it as it will be helpful if any further information is required.
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How long does it take to renew a Blue Badge?
The average waiting time for a renewal to be processed is four to six weeks. This means you should apply for your new Blue Badge six weeks before it is due to expire. Most councils suggest there is no need to apply any earlier than this.
You can find out which local council will assess your application and issue your Blue Badge by filling in your postcode on the government’s Blue Badge page.
If you are worried about the progress of your application you can track it via the GOV.UK portal.
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Will my Blue Badge definitely be renewed?
If your condition remains the same then, yes, your Blue Badge application should be renewed.
However, this isn’t guaranteed, and if it is rejected you will need to appeal against the decision.
The first thing you’ll want to do is understand why your application has been refused, which should be outlined in your refusal notice. Sometimes your Blue Badge application may have been refused over a simple error on your part, such as filling in a particular section incorrectly.
If the reason given is more substantial, then you’ll need to gather evidence to convince the council that its concerns are unwarranted. Once you’ve got the details clear in your mind, complete the appeal notice, or write a formal letter depending on the format that is being asked for. Make sure you include all the evidence you can, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
If the issuing authority is to come to an informed decision it must have all the relevant information and the better the evidence, the greater your chance of having your appeal upheld. Stick to facts though, and resist the urge to be facetious or rude.
Finally, you might like to seek the help of a disability rights group, or your local MP.
Your common Blue Badge questions answered
Finally, we’ve rounded up some of the most common questions we hear around applying for a Blue Badge and answered them to ensure you’re fully equipped when it comes to receiving your Blue Badge.
What are the criteria for a Blue Badge?
Broadly speaking, if you have a long term mobility-related disability, you should be eligible to receive a Blue Badge.
In some circumstances, you will automatically be eligible to receive one. These include if you are on the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, receive War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement, or if you are blind.
Where can I park with a Blue Badge?
Contrary to popular belief, having a Blue Badge does not mean you can simply park wherever you want.
Your Blue badge entitles you to park in specified disabled parking bays, on streets with parking meters or pay and display machines for free, as well as on single or double yellow lines or up to three hours.
Are Blue Badge holders exempt from ultra-low emission zones?
For those living in or who travel through London will want to be aware that Blue Badge holders are not exempt from meeting the new ultra-low emission zone standards, so will need to adhere to them as necessary.
The only exception to this is if your vehicle has a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ tax class.
Can friends and family use the Blue Badge?
No, Blue Badges are for the holder’s use only, so cannot be handed over to a friend or relative so that they can take advantage of the scheme, even if they are running errands for you or visiting you in hospital.
As a Blue Badge holder, you must be driving or travelling in the car for the badge to be valid. It cannot, for example, be used by someone who’s out shopping for you or visiting you.
Doing so is illegal and could lead to a fine and confiscation of the badge. The only time a friend or relative can use your Blue Badge is if they are driving you somewhere or need to park to pick up or drop you off.
Can I use my blue badge in another car?
Yes, your Blue Badge is is assigned to you as a person, not your car, so you can use it in any car you are in, whether you're a driver or a passenger.
Can you use a Blue Badge anywhere in the UK?
You can use your Blue Badge across the UK but there are restrictions in certain place, for example some London boroughs, so plan ahead and use Gov.UK's postcode search to find disabled parking in the area you're looking to visit.
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