Changes to blue badges to come into effect across North Somerset
North Somerset residents are being reminded about changes to the national blue badge scheme will come into effect later this week.
From Friday (30 August) the Department for Transport is extending the blue badge scheme include people with ‘hidden disabilities’. This means people with conditions such as autism, dementia, anxiety disorders and mental health conditions which impact on their mobility will also now be able to apply for a blue badge.
The blue badge scheme allows people to park closer to their destination by using disabled bays and areas where parking restrictions may be in place. A blue badge can be used in vehicles when the badge holder is the driver or the passenger.
In North Somerset, there is expected to be an increase in the number of applications for a blue badge. Currently approximately 12,000 North Somerset residents use blue badges, with an extra 1,285 badges now expected to be issued each year.
Cllr Mike Bell, deputy leader of North Somerset Council and executive member with responsibility for adult social care and health, said: “These changes will make a huge difference to people – providing better access to work and other local facilities, as well as helping people stay connected to family, friends and their communities.
“We’re expecting to have an increase in applications and also more appeals and assessment clinics, together with a need for specialist advice on autism and mental health issues.
“With an increase in the number of people eligible for a blue badge there is a risk that more people might try to use blue badges fraudulently, and we take this very seriously. But let’s be clear – most people need their blue badge and use it appropriately.
“For those North Somerset residents living with conditions that might not be obvious but which affect their everyday life, this change offers a real lifeline – helping them be able to do the types of things that many of us simply take for granted.”
To find out more about who is eligible for a blue badge and how to apply go to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/bluebadge.