By Robert Allan

The Blue Badge Scheme allows those of us with mobility problems to park where others cannot. This means that blue badge holders can park close to where they need to go. The scheme operates throughout the UK and similar schemes operate throughout the EU.

How to apply for a Blue Badge

Dumfries and Galloway Council is responsible for issuing Blue Badge parking permits in Dumfries and Galloway. Contact the council to apply for a Blue Badge or visit the council website

You will be sent an application form to fill in or you can print it from the website.   Return it with two recent passport-sized photographs of yourself. Dumfries and Gallowaqy Council do not levy a charge for the issue of Blue Badges in Dumfries and Galloway.

Using the badge as a driver or passenger

You do not need to own a car or be able to drive one. The badge is personal to you. You can use it in any vehicle that you are travelling in as a driver or a passenger.

How long is a Blue Badge valid for?

Most badges are issued for three years.

Contact the council about six weeks before your badge expires to ask for a new application form.

If you are refused a Blue Badge

You can appeal if the council decides that you do not qualify for a Blue Badge.

If you believe that the council has wrongly refused your application for a Blue Badge, write to them telling them you intend to appeal and ask for information about how to appeal.  DGVoice can help you with this process.

Moving House

You must let the council know of any change of address.

What to do if your Blue Badge is lost or stolen

If your badge or your time clock is lost, contact the council.  The council can  issue you with a replacement.

If your badge has been stolen, you should contact the police first. When you ask the council for a replacement give them the police crime number.

Returning the Blue Badge

If for any reason the badge is no longer needed, it must be returned to the council.

Off-Street Car Parks

The Blue Badge Scheme does not apply to off-street car parks, for example supermarket car parks.

Many off–street car parks offer concessions to Blue Badge Holders when the badge is displayed.  These concessions vary from car park to car park and terms and conditions must be checked on an individual basis for each car park.

How do I use my Blue Badge in Scotland?

The blue badge is used to help you with parking on streets.

When using the parking concessions afforded by the Blue Badge Scheme, the Blue Badge must always be clearly displayed on the dashboard front side up.   Do not display the badge with the photo side up.   In England and Wales the ‘clock’ must also be displayed.

People with a blue badge may:

  1. park without paying on streets with parking meters;
  2. park without paying on streets with "pay and display" ticket machines. Sometimes a local council will change these rules. You should always check what the rules are when you use your badge;
  3. be able to park for an indefinite period where there are single yellow lines;
  4. park on some double yellow lines but you should always check that you are allowed to;
  5. park in spaces on the street marked for disabled people.

You should always try to park in these spaces before parking on yellow lines. You also have to show your badge on the vehicle even when parked in one of these spaces. Make sure your badge can be seen easily on the vehicle. People who park in these spaces who do not show a blue badge might have to pay a parking fine.

Some councils also allow people with blue badges to park without paying in their car parks. You should always check the rules with the local council. Councils can have different rules about parking in their car parks.

**Additional Rules for Parking on Yellow Lines**

When parking on yellow lines you must not cause an obstruction to other road users.   In the case of double yellow lines you must not park where there are kerb markings restricting loading/unloading.  In addition, you must not park on double yellow lines restricting parking on a corner.   These additional rules apply throughout the UK.  Follow this link to see examples of roadside markings.

How do I use my Blue Badge in England & Wales?

As in Scotland, the Blue Badge scheme in England & Wales only applies to on-street parking.

Badge holders may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours  and must display the ‘clock’ set to the time that parking commenced.   Failure to display both clock and badge is an offence and may lead to a fine.   There are separate rules for the Central London Boroughs.   See section ‘Central London Boroughs’ below.

How do I use my Blue Badge in Northern Ireland?

Blue Badge Holders may park in parking bays specifically marked

for use by disabled people.

• Badge Holders may park free of charge and without time

limit at on-street parking meters and on street “pay-and display”

equipment unless a local traffic order specifying a

time limit for Badge Holders is in force. (Check local signs

for information).

• Badge Holders may be exempt from limits on parking times

imposed on other users. (Check local signs for information).

• Badge Holders may usually park on single or double yellow

lines for up to three hours except where there is a ban on

loading or unloading and at a few locations where local

schemes apply.

• In many areas, reserved parking places for Badge Holders

are provided.  You should use these spaces in preference to

parking on yellow lines.A time limit may be imposed on the

use of such spaces.  You must always display a valid Badge when occupying one of these spaces.

Using your Blue Badge Abroad

The Blue Badge is recognised in all EU countries.    The UK also has bilateral arrangements with other foreign countries.  When you display your blue badge on the dashboard, it allows you to make use of the same parking concessions that the country you are in allows its own citizens with disability.

The concessions differ from country to country, however. So it is important to know where, when and for how long you can park. And as important, when and where you can’t park.   Follow the link to visit the IAM website and find comprehensive information of disabled parking abroad.

Central London Boroughs

If you are planning to drive and park in the Central London Boroughs it is essential you are aware of the following regulations.

The conditions of use for the Blue Badge Scheme in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, City of London & Camden (South of Euston Road), differ from parking concessions for disabled motorists in the rest of the country.

Where you can park -

Blue Badge Disabled Bays: Free parking for up to 4 hours between 8.30am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday and unlimited parking in these bays at all other times.
Pay & Display and Pay by Phone Bays: Blue Badge holders can stay for one extra hour for free after making an initial payment for parking. (Note: you must display your valid Blue Badge and clock showing the time of arrival).

It is wise to check out the website for the Central London Borough you intend to visit or the Traffic for London website to locate Blue Badge Bays in the area you want to park and find up to date information.

Finally, there are two absolute rules about using your blue badge.   When parking as a disabled person, clearly display your blue badge on the dashboard.  Always follow the directions or instructions of a police officer, traffic warden or parking attendant.

Use your Blue Badge correctly and responsibly and you will find that it greatly assists you in getting to your destination with the least effort.  But do remember, misuse of the Blue Badge is an offence and can lead to prosecution and it being taken from you.

Happy motoring!

The author worked for ten years as a manager in Westminster City Council Parking Services where his duties included included training staff in the intricacies of the Parking Rules and Regulations.