The Blue Badge is a national scheme for disabled people with severe mobility problems, holders of the badge are allowed to park in restricted areas and designated spaces closer to their destination. Transport Minister Jesse Norman state that the Blue badge scheme is a lifeline for people with a disability.
In 1970 this was an accurate description, however on the 30th of August 2019 the blue badge scheme recognises hidden disabilities. Its is the first time a change has been made to the stringent rules in 40 years.
The consultation period lasted from 21st January to March 2018 received 6,000 responses in favour of the new changes.
This is a huge step towards modernising and accepting that not all disabilities are visible and someone with a hidden disability may have similar difficulties as someone with a visible disability.
Will this help people with respiratory conditions? I never understood why people with breathing struggles were not offered a blue badge, it serves the same purpose to help the individual arrive at their destination with less effort.
Minister for Disabled people, health and work Sarah Newton agrees with the changes claiming that it is vital for disabled people to live an independent life allowing them access to any help or support they may need.
One group that will benefit from the change are the Autistic community, this has been recognised as a hidden disability, it is believed that it will have a massive impact of approximately 600,000 people.
The new criteria states that people that cannot undergo a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety, or considerable psychological distress or people that have considerable difficulty with walking both physically and the experience.
The last sentence is really the main change. However, I wonder if the difficulty or risk has to be constant? By this I mean; would I be applicable? When my symptoms are bad, I struggle to walk from one end of the supermarket car park and then the ordeal of walking around inside the supermarket then back to the car, sometimes it results in me staying in the car. If I had a blue badge, I would be closer to the supermarket thus making the practical action of walking more manageable.
According to the Dft (Department for transport) 3 out of 4 people with blue badges said they would go out less in they did not have the use of their blue badge.
Major transport hubs are making adjustment for people with disabilities, Heathrow airport even recognises respiratory conditions, as a hidden disability. They have introduced a sunflower lanyard for passengers and badge for employees’ scheme, this allows the person interacting with the someone wearing a sunflower lanyard or badge to be more understanding or patient.
I strongly believe it is a step in the right direction and I hope this new scheme works well. This link will give you more details and let you apply for a blue badge https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge