Blue badge scheme

What is a Blue Badge?

The Blue Badge scheme operates across the UK and is for people whose mobility is affected by disability or health conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The Blue Badge enables a person to access a range of parking benefits.

Blue Badge holders are usually allowed to park free of charge within pay-and-display parking facilities, disabled parking bays and if you are not causing an obstruction, on double or single yellow lines for up to 3 hours. This is not an exhaustive list and badge holders should always check for any restrictions in force before parking.

Further information on Blue Badge holder responsibilities, including parking guidance, can be found on the UK Government website.


There are two routes to qualify for a Blue Badge, an ‘automatic’ entitlement and an ‘assessed’ route.

Automatic entitlement

If you satisfy any of the following criteria you will automatically be eligible for a Blue Badge.

  • Are currently in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) higher rate mobility component
  • Are currently in receipt of Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and scored 8 or more points in the ‘moving around’ mobility activity
  • Are currently in receipt of PIP and scored 10 or more points for ‘descriptor E’ in the ‘planning and following journeys’ mobility activity


Assessed route

To qualify through the ‘assessed’ route, you must have a permanent and substantial disability which causes the inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking or you have severe problems using both your arms.

You will need to apply to your local authority if you live in England, Wales, or Scotland or to the Blue Badge Unit in Northern Ireland. The application for an assessed route Blue Badge is a little more complex than the simple automatic entitlement route, it may take longer and will possibly involve an assessment from a health professional.

You can find out more about Blue Badge eligibility criteria on the UK Government’s Who can get a Blue Badge webpage.

How the scheme works

As a Blue Badge holder, you are obliged to abide by set rights and responsibilities. These may differ depending on where you live both on a national level within the UK and a more local level. If you qualify, it would be a good idea to check the rules that apply to your nation and those of the local authority area where you live or may be visiting before using the Blue Badge.

Applying for a Blue Badge

To Apply for a Blue Badge in England and Wales, go to the GOV.UK website, in Scotland, go to the website and in Northern Ireland, go to the NIDirect website.

Blue Badges can last for up to three years and are free in Wales, cost £10 in England and Northern Ireland and up to £20 in Scotland.

More information

For further information please visit the following websites, Citizens Advice and Disability Rights UK.