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What exactly do I need to know about the blue badge?

A blue badge is issued to people who have disabilities which limit the distance they can walk. It is also issued to people who are wheelchair users and those who have respiratory issues. 

In fact, there are many people who are eligible for a blue badge, and as a live-in carer, you may well come across one of these with your client.

Basically, the blue badge helps people to park closer to their destinations, either as a passenger or as a driver. 

The badge is used for on street parking only. There are separate rules which cover off street parking such as in shopping centres, hospitals and supermarkets.

It is important to remember that the rules differ for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so if you live there, you should check them out before assuming that you can park legally.

What are the responsibilities of using the blue badge?

The badge must be used correctly. This means that the badge and all the concessions are for the holder only.

Misuse of the blue badge is a criminal offence and can lead to a fine of up to £1000 and a confiscation of the badge.

The person who is named on the badge has the responsibility of making sure that all others in the vehicle are aware of the rules.

The badge must never be offered to friends or family to use for the benefit of finding closer parking.

The badge must never be copied and the details on the badge are never to be changed.

Remember that the badge is the property of the local council and they can ask for it to be returned if it is being misused.

So, who can use the blue badge?

The badge is assigned to only one person who must always be in the car when it is used. They can either be the driver or the passenger but they must be in the vehicle at the time of use.  

Even another disabled person cannot use the blue badge unless the recipient is in the car with them so you cannot lend the badge to another person.

How do we display the badge?

The badge must be placed on the dashboard, clearly seen through the windscreen. Should the vehicle not have a dashboard, the badge must be placed somewhere so that it can easily be seen from outside. 

The hologram should be facing upwards and the photo downwards.

It is very important that all details are clearly visible. If they become unclear and faded you should return the badge and request a new one.

Should we set the clock every time?

Setting the clock must be done if you are parking in a place where there are time restrictions. The clock will show your time of arrival.

Who can inspect the blue badge?

Any traffic warden, police officer, parking attendant and civil enforcement office can inspect the blue badge. You are within your rights to ask for identification should they want to inspect the badge.

A point to note here is that Civil Enforcement Officers are permitted to wear plain clothes when working.

Should any of these people ask you for your badge, you should show it to them. Refusing to show the badge will result in a fine of up to £1000. They also have the right to retain the badge if they have reasonable grounds to do so.

When, if ever, would I return the badge?

You should return the badge to the local council it:

  • It has expired
  • The condition of the user improves and they are no longer eligible
  • A replacement was issued because the old one was lost, and then it is found
  • The face of the badge is damaged and illegible
  • The badge is no longer needed when the user has passed away or is confined to the house

So the rules of the blue badge, simplified are:

  • The badge must always be displayed clearly in the vehicle
  • Do not stop your car where it can cause an obstruction to either pedestrians or traffic
  • Do not stop on zig zag markings
  • Do not park on the pavement, unless there is a sign to say this is legal
  • Do not park in suspended bays
  • Do not park on red routes unless you are in the signed red route box bays
  • Do not allow anyone else to use the blue badge

Final thoughts

It is worthwhile noting that in the City of London, City of Westminster, Kensington, Chelsea, parts of Camden, Gatwick and Heathrow Airports there are different rules which you should follow.

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