PERMANENT EXTENSION TO BLUE BADGE SCHEME CRITERIA
27th December 2017
Cognitive improvements to be included in Blue Badge scheme
The disabled person's parking badge pilot, which was launched in April 2016, has been made permanent by the Scottish Government.
The eligibility criteria were revised and extended under a pilot to allow carers and relatives of people who pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to apply for a disabled person's parking badge, provided they meet the criteria.
The Transport Scotland Blue Badge Working Group, established in 2015, has been evaluating the pilot and put forward recommendations that the extension should be made permanent, which has now been agreed.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: "I am delighted that the Scottish Government can permanently extend the criteria around the Blue Badge. It's so important that people with disabilities, including cognitive impairments, can live a life of equal opportunities similar to other people.
"Transport Scotland has been working hard to identify and remove barriers which make journeys unfeasible or unpleasant. I want to thank the members of the Blue Badge Working Group, who, since 2015, have been working to develop and evaluate recommendations to improve the scheme.
"Their findings are clear. This extension in criteria has made it easier for relatives or carers looking after people with conditions like dementia, autism and Down's syndrome to get closer to their destination - minimising the risks posed by traffic.
"By making the extension to the scheme permanent, people can continue to benefit from support which can greatly reduce barriers through the provision of more accessible parking."
Iain Smith, Policy and Engagement Team Manager at Inclusion Scotland and member of the Blue Badge Working Group, said:
“Inclusion Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to make permanent the extension of the scheme. Blue badges support independent living by enabling people who would otherwise not be able to get out and about to access facilities such as work, education, community, social or health services in the same way as others can."
Elaine Harley, Helpline Manager at Alzheimer Scotland and member of the Blue Badge Working Group, said: “Alzheimer Scotland warmly welcomes the Minister’s decision to permanently extend the Blue Badge scheme to cover people living with a cognitive impairment. Our staff tell us that people with dementia and their carers have benefitted greatly from having a Badge, and that it helps to improve their access to all community services. This is an important part of maintaining active participation in their local area."
Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of the Council’s Corporate Resources Committee, endorsed this improvement and said “I applaud Highland Council staff and customers who all played a pivotal part in the pilot to extend the Blue Badge scheme in a way that takes account of the potential risk an applicant may pose to themselves or others in traffic. This extension to the scheme will create opportunities for carers and Blue Badge holders to be better socially included and safer when travelling and participating in everyday life within our communities."
The Council’s Welfare Support Team regularly help carers and their families to successfully apply for a Blue Badge. Anyone requiring help to apply for a Blue Badge should contact the Team on 0800 090 1004. Alternatively, your local Citizens Advice will be able to assist.