The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant challenges for people trying to apply for and renew their Blue Badges, and Local Authorities trying to provide and enforce their Blue Badge schemes.
A Blue Badge allows people with disabilities to park closer to their destination. Transport Scotland recognises that the Scheme helps ensure disabled people’s continued independent access to essential food and health and social care services, and that in the coming months this will remain the case.
Actions by Transport Scotland
To help provide certainty for Local Authorities for the service changes they are having to make, Transport Scotland, UK Department for Transport, the Welsh Government, and Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure, have jointly produced and agreed a set of recommendations for Local Authorities:
- That they conduct only desk-based assessments (for example telephone or video call) for new Blue Badge applications and reapplications, and do not call in applicants for face-to-face appointments.
- That where they cannot conduct face-to-face assessments they must assure themselves that any interim processes they implement are compatible with considering applications fairly.
- That where they cannot make a decision without a face-to-face assessment, they should advice that although applications cannot be processed at this time, they will be completed when an appropriate level of assessment can be undertaken.
- They should not prevent individuals from submitting applications.
Blue Badge Enforcement
Local Authorities may have to delay processing new Blue Badge applications and reapplications, and may also have an existing backlog of current applications. The Scottish Government, in conjunction with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), have supported new British Parking Association (BPA) guidance that Scottish local authority parking teams should not issue Penalty Charge Notices to Blue Badges with an expiry date of 1 January 2020 onwards. This relaxation of enforcement against expired Blue Badges should continue initially until 30 September 2020.
This new guidance, aimed at Local Authority parking teams rather than the public, is available to view on the British Parking Association (BPA) website.