A Blue Badge is part of the Blue Badge Scheme that has been created throughout the UK; its aim is provide support to people who suffer from severe mobility problems. Essentially the Blue Badge allows badge holders to park their vehicle closer to the location they are visiting. For example many parking areas have designated disabled parking bays, to park in one of these a valid Blue Badge should be displayed. This is a national scheme and it is currently operated by each local authority. Applications for Blue Badges are also managed by the respective local authorities.
As well as allowing parking within a designated disable parking bay the badge also entitles the holder to certain other permissions. The rules are different in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Within England the badge holder has permission to park on single or double yellow lines for a maximum time of three hours. In cases where there is a ban on loading or parking badge holders do not hold the right to park.
At present the maximum charge that can be put in place for the purchase of a Blue Badge is £2; although this will changing to £10 from 2012. The increase in price is due to the design of the badge changing to ensure it is more difficult to forge or tamper with.
It should be noted that the Blue Badge does not entitle the holder to free parking in off street car parks, private roads and at most airports.
Within four areas of London there is a different scheme in place which differs from the regulations of the national Blue Bade scheme. The London boroughs operating a different scheme include City of London, City of Westminster, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London Borough of Camden.
Those people who are successfully awarded a Blue Badge must display the badge at all times when parking; this should be facing upwards displaying the wheelchair symbol. As well as the badge a parking clock must also be displayed, this will be issued at the same time of the badge. The clock must state the time of arrival and it must be displayed when parking on yellow line or in other places where there is a time restriction on parking in place.
Badge holders must be prepared to show their badge to an enforcement officer at time. People who are regarded as enforcement officers include police officers, traffic wardens, local council parking attendants and civil enforcement officers.
A Blue Badge can only be used by the person which it is granted to, it is considered an offence for any other person to use the Badge. The badge holder must be present at all time of use. There has been a maximum fine placed on successful convictions for the misuse of a Blue Badge, this fine stands at £1,000.