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FEATURE


The benefits Previously, local authorities could not exclude those with hidden disabilities, but granting permission was very much open to interpretation. The changes now give councils clearer guidelines. According to the DofT, three out of four Blue Badge holders admitted that they would ‘go out’ less often, if they didn’t have a badge, and it is hoped the changes will help deliver greater clarity for those that could potentially need one.


What will this mean to landlords? Firstly, by opening the Blue Badge scheme to more qualifying motorists, there will be a need for greater capacity for disabled drivers to park closer to their destinations. This will mean that in January 2019 there will be a need for more disabled parking bays to cope with the increased demand. Secondly, this may result in greater abuse of the scheme, requiring landlords to be more vigilant and have a policy in place to ensure motorists are parking appropriately.


Other motorists will also be quick to judge Blue Badge users and when they see no physical disability, wrongly jump to the conclusion that the user is abusing the disabled parking space.


Blue Badge – the Scheme The Blue Badge scheme is administered by local authorities and grants the holder the ability to park in spaces reserved specifically for badge holders. There is a


£10 administration fee and badge holders are permitted to park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, unless there is a ‘no loading’ restriction. All other parking restrictions do apply to the badge holder. It’s not a licence to park anywhere, and badge holders can still be fined for parking somewhere that endangers the public, such as outside a school or near a road junction.


Disabled parking - open to abuse. Motorists often park in disabled bays, despite having no right to do so, because they are usually located close to the place they want to be, especially in bad weather, and this is unfair on those people that have a legitimate need for these spaces. Now with an increase in demand, pressure will be on landlords to ensure motorists park appropriately.


The current rules regarding who is eligible for a Blue Badge do not explicitly exclude hidden disabilities but are ‘open to interpretation’ by local authorities. So, it is hoped that the new changes will provide greater clarity on this matter.


Blue Badges are a lifeline for people with disabilities, giving them the freedom and confidence to independently get a job, or simply visit friends in the community. In addition, 75% of Blue Badge holders say that they would go out less often were not able to easily park closer to their destination. We hope the changes will provide a new level of freedom and support to those with such hidden disabilities.


www.hx-pcn.com


www.tomorrowsfm.com


TOMORROW’S FM | 45


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