The Blue Badge Scheme

The blue badge scheme is for on-street parking only. Off-street car parks (such as those for hospitals or supermarkets) have separate rules; you are not entitled to park on yellow lines in off-street car parks. However they must provide parking for blue badge holders. In my experience some of the disabled parking bays do still make a charge, the only difference is that you are parked nearer to the entrance and the bays are larger so do check before leaving the car.

If your employer is the blue badge holder as a passenger, it is their responsibility to make sure that the driver is aware of the rules. The badge is for your employer’s use and benefit only; other people should not use the badge, even if it is to run an errand for your employer. The best way to think of this is that if they’re not in the car, do not use the badge. Though if you are picking up or dropping off your employer, and need to park at the place where they are being collected or dropped off, you can display the badge.

As the driver it is advisable that you become familiar with the rules, as it might be you who has to pay the parking fine, and your employer may not be aware of the rules themselves.

Interestingly, the Blue Badge scheme does not fully apply in certain parts of Central London, though Badge holders do not have to pay the Congestion Charge. The scheme can be used in Europe but concessions do vary. It’s also worth knowing that blue badge holders may be exempt from payment of tolls at certain river crossings.


Rules of the scheme

The Blue Badge is not a licence to park anywhere. Like other road users, you must obey the rules of the road, as laid out in the Highway Code.

You must not park:

  • Where a ban on loading or unloading is in force, by kerb markings. Or where an urban clearway is within its hours of operation. You may pick up or drop off passengers. All parking is forbidden.
  • School ‘keep clear’ markings during the hours shown on a yellow no-stopping plate.
  • Bus, tram or cycle lanes or cycle tracks. Badge holders are not entitled to drive in bus lanes during their hours of operation.
  • Where there are double white lines in the centre of the road – even if one of the lines is broken.
  • Suspended meter bays or when use of the meter is not allowed.
  • Where temporary parking restrictions are in force, as shown for example by no-waiting cones.

Do not park where it would endanger, inconvenience or obstruct pedestrians or other road users. Examples of dangerous or obstructive parking:

  • School entrances, bus stops, on a bend, or near the brow of a hill or hump bridge parking opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space;
  • Where it would make the road narrow, such as by a traffic island or roadworks;
  • Where it would hold up traffic, such as in narrow stretches of road or blocking vehicle entrances;
  • Where emergency vehicles stop or go in and out, such as hospital entrances;
  • Where the kerb has been lowered or the road raised to help wheelchair users; and
  • On a pavement, unless signs permit it. If you do not drive yourself, you should share the information in this leaflet with the person who will be carrying you as a passenger.

You cannot legally be wheel clamped on the public highway (‘on-street’) for parking offences, provided you correctly display a valid Blue Badge according to the rules of the scheme. Parking in forbidden areas, or where it would endanger or obstruct other road users is an offence, which could result in you receiving a parking fine. You could also be prosecuted, the car towed away and the badge withdrawn.


Displaying the badge

When using the parking concessions you must display the badge on the dashboard or facia panel, where it can be clearly read through the front windscreen. The front of the badge should face upwards, showing the wheelchair symbol.

The side showing the photograph should not be visible through the windscreen. Displaying a badge that is illegible may result in a parking fine.


Returning the badge

The badge should be returned if

  • The badge has expired; you will be fined for using an expired badge
  • The badge holder’s medical condition or mobility improves and are no longer eligible
  • A replacement badge has been issued for one that is lost or stolen and the original is found/recovered
  • The badge becomes damaged or faded and is illegible
  • The badge is no longer required, for example your employer becomes confined to the house
  • The badge is lost, stolen or damaged
  • Your employer changes address
  • Your employer’s name changes (e.g. by marriage, civil partnership, deed poll)


Using the Badge

When you park on yellow lines or in other places where there is a time restriction, you need to display the blue parking clock to show your time of arrival. If you need to use a parking clock, you must display it on the vehicle’s dashboard or facia panel, so that the time can be seen clearly through the front windscreen. The clock should be set to show the quarter hour period during which you arrived. If there is no dashboard or facia panel in your vehicle, you must still display the clock in a place where it can be clearly read from outside the vehicle.

Police officers, traffic wardens, parking attendants and civil enforcement officers have the power to inspect the badge. They should produce an identity card with their photograph on to prove they are who they say they are. If you are asked to show the badge, you must show it to them. If you don’t you are breaking the law and could be fined up to £1,000.

Badge holders may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours but in general not where there are restrictions on loading or unloading. Such areas are indicated by yellow kerb dashes and/or signs on plates. However you may wish to check whether a particular local authority has chosen to exempt Blue Badge holders from this restriction.