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Website URL : http://www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=14122
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Blue Badge Scheme

image depicting Disabled parking logo

The Blue Badge Scheme provides a national arrangement of parking concessions for people with severe mobility difficulties.


What is the Blue Badge Scheme?

The Blue Badge Scheme provides a national arrangement of parking concessions to severely sight impaired or permanently impaired people (who are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk) to park close to their destination in order to access employment, education, health and other essential services. The Blue Badge parking concessions only allow badge holders to park on-street. They do not apply to off-street car parks, such as supermarket car parks, or privately owned roads, such as those you find at airports. There may however, be special concessions for badge holders in these areas and you should check for signs detailing these.

Further information on where and how to use your Blue Badge can be found in the 'Rights and Responsibilities' booklet which you will receive with your Blue Badge, or is available to download from

wales.gov.uk/bluebadgescheme


Why have changes been made to the Blue Badge Scheme?

Changes have been to make improvements to the scheme so that genuine badge holders receive the benefits of the Blue Badges and also to tackle fraud and abuse of the scheme. Blue Badges have a significant cash value in avoided parking fees, toll charges. Also in London, badge holders do not pay the congestion charge and badges issued in Swansea have been found to have been misused for this purpose.

Problems identified across the UK include:

  • Badges being used when the badge holder is not intending to use the vehicle as a driver or passenger. This is not allowed even if the user of the car is doing something (like collecting medicine) for the disabled person.
  • Badges being issued to people who aren't entitled to one as the evidence they have provided in support of their application is not reliable.
  • Badges being copied, amended, forged and sold.
  • Disabled parking bays are used so genuinely disabled motorists cannot park.

Disabled Motoring UK estimates that around 40% of badges are currently misused.


Who can be considered for a Blue Badge?

Under the rules of the Blue Badge Scheme, the eligibility criteria is divided into two categories. These are:

  1. Automatic
  2. Discretionary 

Please note: whichever criteria you apply under, you will always have to provide evidence of your identity and residency in Swansea (unless the Council can obtain this from information it already holds).

The Welsh Government provides an on line Blue Badge eligibility checker on their website.


Automatic criteria

If you satisfy one or more of the following criteria you will automatically qualify for a Blue Badge. You may be asked to provide proof that you fall into one of these groups unless we can obtain evidence from elsewhere.

  • You receive the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance at the Higher Rate (Please note this is NOT Attendance Allowance or the Care Component of Disability Living Allowance).
  • You receive Personal Independence Payment Mobility Activity 1 descriptor f OR Mobility Activity 2 descriptors c,d,e or f.
  • You receive a War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement.
  • Severely injured armed forces personnel – you receive a guaranteed payment under tariffs 1-8 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes an inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
  • You are registered blind.

If you do not meet any of the above automatic criteria you may be considered for a badge under the discretionary criteria.


Discretionary Criteria

If you satisfy one or more of the following criteria you will qualify for a Blue Badge. You may be asked to provide proof that you fall into one of these groups unless we can obtain evidence from elsewhere.

  • You have a permanent and substantial disability which means you cannot walk or have considerable difficulty in walking.
  • You have a severe disability in both upper limbs, regularly drive a motor vehicle but cannot turn the steering wheel of a motor vehicle by hand even if it is fitted with a turning knob.
  • Children - there are special criteria for children under the age of 3, please see here.
  • People who regularly drive a non-adapted vehicle but are unable to operate or have difficulty in operating parking meters or pay and display equipment because of severe impairments in both arms (for example, those with thalidomide-related disabilities).

Welsh Government guidance tells us that a permanent and substantial disability is a condition that is likely to last for the duration of your life that means you cannot walk or that you have considerable difficulty in walking.

You will need to demonstrate that your ability to walk is affected to the extent that you would be unable to access goods and services unless allowed to park close to shops, public buildings and other facilities.


You will not qualify for a badge if:

  1. You do not meet any of the criteria listed above
  2. You have a temporary not permanent disability, such as a broken leg.
  3. You experience a psychological disorder that does not cause you severe discomfort with your walking on a permanent basis.
  4. You only experience walking problems when carrying objects, such as shopping.
  5. Your condition does not continuously severely limit your ability to walk for example some people have days when they are more able to walk better than others.

How do I apply?

To apply you will need to visit our Contact Centre in the Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea. The guidance under which we operate the Blue Badge scheme advises us that all applicants should attend the Council office issuing the badge so that it can be confirmed that the photograph we take of you is a true likeness of the person to whom the Blue Badge is issued.

We operate an appointment system for all applications so that you will not be waiting for an unnecessarily long period.

Please telephone our Blue Badge team on 01792 637366 to make an appointment. During the conversation we will take some details off you to check whether you appear to satisfy any of the criteria. If it looks like you will be entitled to a Blue Badge, we will also tell you what evidence we will need you to bring when you come to the contact centre.

If you might have difficulty in accessing the Civic Centre, please mention this when you telephone us to arrange an appointment and we will tell you about the arrangements we have made that will help you.

 


Evidence to Support Your Application for a Blue Badge

To make sure your application is handled as quickly as possible, we will always attempt to obtain any evidence we need by checking our existing records. However, if we can't gather the evidence by this method, you may be asked to provide some evidence yourself. We will tell you what we need you to provide when we speak to you at the time you make your appointment.

If you are applying under the AUTOMATIC criteria we will need details / proof of:

  1. Your identity and address.
  2. Your National Insurance Number
  3. That you receive one of the relevant benefits e.g. up to date confirmation you receive the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance at the Higher Rate.
  4. The registrations of the vehicles in which you are most likely to use the blue badge. We need this so that enforcement officers can verify the badge and check that it is being used correctly.

If you are applying under the DISCRETIONARY criteria we will need details / proof of:

  1. Your identity and address.
  2. Your National Insurance Number
  3. Any medication you take
  4. The registrations of the vehicles in which you are most likely to use the blue badge. We need this so that enforcement officers can verify the badge and check that it is being used correctly.

Your application will be looked at and a decision will be made on whether we need to ask for verification of your condition/illness. We may not always need to ask you for evidence if we are able to obtain what is needed from already held about you by the Council. We hope to do this in as many cases as possible to speed up the application process for our customers.

Please note: If we do ask you for supporting evidence, any fee you may have to pay to obtain that evidence cannot be paid by the Council.

Proof of Identity / Residency

Residency

If we cannot confirm your residency from our existing records, we will ask you to provide one of the following original documents as an alternative proof:

  • A utility bill dated within the last 3 months (for example a Gas / Electricity / Water / Phone bill)
  • An up to date Rent Book.
  • A valid Driving Licence showing your address.
  • A vehicle Registration Document for the correct address
  • A Letter from a Government Department dated within the last 12 months.
  • A Bank/Building Society Statement dated within the last 3 months.
  • A current TV Licence.
  • If your Blue Badge application is in respect of a child, a Child Benefit or Disability Living Allowance award letter for that child.

Identity

If we cannot confirm your identity from our existing records, we will ask you to provide one of the following original documents as an alternative proof:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid driving licence
  • A birth / adoption Certificate
  • A marriage / civil partnership certificate
  • HM Forces ID Card
  • A UK or EU national identity card
  • A NHS card
  • An ID card for foreign nationals

This list is not exhaustive and if you are considering providing evidence from another source, please telephone us and we will be happy to discuss whether the alternative evidence would be acceptable.


What happens when the badge expires?

When a badge expires, you will need to re-apply for a new one.

The expiry date is on the badge. It is usually valid for 3 years and you will receive a reminder letter near the time it is due to expire inviting you to reapply.

If the new application is approved, you will be asked to return your old badge once you receive your new badge. If your new application is not approved, you will be asked to return your old badge immediately.


Badges for children under the age of 3

Parents can apply for a badge for their child if the child has a medical condition which means they need to:

  • Travel with bulky medical equipment not easily carried OR 
  • Be close to a vehicle to get to emergency medical treatment.

Once the child reaches their third birthday, these criteria don't apply and the application is treated the same as for any adult.

Bulky Medical Equipment can include...

Ventilators, suction machines, feed pumps, Oxygen administration or monitoring equipment, casts and associated medical equipment for the correction of hip dysplasia.

These lists are not exhaustive. Please contact the Blue Badge team direct on 01792 637366 for advice.


Badges for people who have been issued a DS1500

People who have been issued a DS1500 are entitled to a blue badge as long as they also have difficulty in walking.

If you have been issued a DS1500 you should contact the Blue Badge team direct on 01792 637366, or ask someone to do it on your behalf because the application process is much shorter.

Lost / Stolen badges

If your badge has been lost or stolen, you will need to visit our contact centre in the Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea to apply for a new one. The system is broadly the same as applying for a new badge and we operate an appointment system for all applications so that you will not be waiting for an unnecessarily long period.

Please telephone our Blue Badge team on 01792 637366 to make an appointment. During the conversation we will take some details off you about how the badge was lost or stolen. If it looks like you are still entitled to a Blue Badge, we will also tell you what evidence we will need you to bring when you come to the contact centre to complete the application.

If you might have difficulty in accessing the Civic Centre, please mention this when you telephone us to arrange an appointment and we will tell you about the arrangements we have made that will help you.

When you come to the contact centre for your appointment, we will ask you to make a written statement about the loss/theft of the badge. If it was stolen we will also ask you for the Police crime number.

If there is only a short period until the expiry date of your original badge, we may treat it as a re-application or only issue a replacement for a short period.


Organisational Applications

A Blue Badge may be issued to an organisation for a motor vehicle when the vehicle is to be used to transport disabled persons who have a permanent and substantial disability and are unable to walk, or have considerable difficulty in walking. The intention is to make it easier for them to park closer to their destination.

The organisation must care for disabled people and in addition the disabled people under their care should meet one or more of the Blue Badge eligibility criteria (Automatic or Discretionary) as described above.

A badge will also be issued to an organisation if they have vehicles licensed under Disabled Passenger Vehicle (DPV) taxation class.

The application must be made in person by the Manager/Deputy Manager of the Organisation.

In all circumstances, badges will be issued to the organisation or department and not to named individuals.

In order to process the application we will need the following:

  • Copy of Tax exemption re DPV or letter of confirmation from DVLA (if applicable)

The authorised organisation representative will need to call in person, with the above documentation to The Civic Centre.

If only a few people cared for by the organisation meet the eligibility criteria for a badge, the disabled people themselves to should apply, rather than have one issued to an organisation. This then allows the badge holders to use their badge in any vehicle in which they are travelling.


Using your Blue Badge

You should display your badge in the special wallet provided on the dashboard of your vehicle where it can be clearly read through the windscreen with the front of the badge facing upwards.

You should set the time of arrival on the clock and display the wallet containing the badge on the dashboard of the vehicle.

When no parking concessions are being used, badges/clocks/wallets should be removed from view so they do not provide a target for thieves.


Misuse of a Blue Badge

If you have a badge, it must only be used when you are the driver of the vehicle or a passenger in it and the journey is for your benefit.

If a trip/visit/errand is for someone else and you remain in the vehicle, the badge cannot be used to enable them to benefit from the concessions.

You should not let others use the badge on your behalf without yourself being present, even if they are making a trip on your behalf. For example when doing your shopping or collect prescriptions on your behalf.

The council can confiscate and cancel a badge if the badge holder or another person misuses it. It is an offence for people other than the badge holder to take advantage of the parking concessions provided under the scheme. The maximum fine if someone is convicted is £1,000 plus any additional penalty for the related parking offence.

The new-style badges are linked to a new UK database of eligible users. This makes it much easier for police and parking wardens anywhere in the country to verify whether or not a badge is being used legitimately.

If you think that a Blue Badge issued by this Council is being misused, you can report the matter to the Blue Badges team by using our on-line form.

Try to get as many details as possible from the badge on display (serial number, expiry date etc) to help the council to investigate and take action if the badge is shown to have been misused.





Contacts:
© 2014 City and County of Swansea
Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea. SA1 3SN. Tel: 01792 636000 Fax: 01792 636340