Disabled Parking Badge Scheme
The Council is responsible for the issue of Blue Badge parking permits to residents whose mobility is severely impaired. Blue Badges allow residents who are unable to walk great distances, to park in restricted areas. Over 3,000 badges are issued each year. As from the 1st of April 2010 the Highland Council will implement a £20.00 charge for the administration of a Blue Badge.
Local Authorities have the power to decide whether an applicant meets the criteria set out by the Department for Transport. However, a review of the scheme means Badges are now issued directly from a central location. A new national database will allow enforcement officers anywhere in the country to check accurate details of badges and badge holders, hence will reduce the amount of Badge misuse experienced in Scotland.
The changes will also see the introduction of automatic entitlement to a Blue Badge for severely disabled service personnel and veterans.
Although the automatic criteria set out below will still enable those on qualifying grounds direct access to the scheme, others will be subject to a further assessment. Independent mobility assessments will be introduced later in the year to ensure that those eligible are assessed fairly and consistently across the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the disabled parking badge scheme?
The Blue Badge scheme provides a national arrangement across the UK and a partnership arrangement in other European Union member states.
The scheme is designed to help severely disabled people lead independent lives by knowing that when they reach a destination, either as a driver or passenger, that they will be able to park near to a venue and therefore have easier access to the services they want to use.
The Blue Badge parking concessions only allow badge holders to park on-street. They do not apply to off-street privately operated car parks, such as supermarket car parks or on 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.
How do I qualify?
You will be entitled automatically if you:
- Receive the Higher Rate of the Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance;
- You are blind or registered blind;
- You receive a War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement;
- You receive an award under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) under tariffs 1 to 8 and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial difficulty which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
You may be subject to an Independent Mobility Assessment if:
- You have a permanent and substantial disability which means you are unable to walk, or virtually unable to walk;
- You are unable to walk, or virtually unable to walk because of a temporary but substantial disability which is likely to last for a period of at least 12 months but less than 3 years,
- You drive a motor vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both upper limbs, and are unable to operate, or have considerable difficulty in operating, all or some types of parking meter.
- The local authority may ask those applying under the first two above criteria to be assessed by an independent mobility professional, such as a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist. In such cases they will make the necessary arrangements.
- Only drivers with the most severe disabilities in both their arms will qualify under the third criterion.
If you wish to apply as you are the carer for a Child under 3:
A parent of a child who is less than three years old may apply for a badge for their child, if the child: has a condition which requires specific medical equipment, which means they must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around without great difficulty; or needs to be kept near a vehicle at all times so that they can, if necessary, be treated in the vehicle or quickly driven to a place where they can be treated, such as a hospital. An assessment may be required, however supporting medical documentation may be considered sufficient.
How do I apply for a disabled parking badge?
Apply over the telephone on the Highland Council’s Entitlement line on 01349886604.
Access any Service Point
Alternatively you can download an Blue Badge Application and Guidance Form
Return completed applications to the Service Centre:
Please only send copies of evidence required to support your application
Blue Badge Scheme
Highland Council Service Centre
Alness Point Business Park
How long will my application take?
A successful applicant who is eligible under the automatic criteria and who submits a valid application can expect to have their Badge within 15 working days.
An applicant who has been subject to a further assessment by an Independent Mobility Assessor can expect to have their Badge within 20 working days.
A delay in payment will affect the above stated timescales as badges cannot be produced prior to payment.
Is there a charge for the badge?
Yes, there is a fixed charge of £20.00 payable when an application is recognised as meeting the entitlement criteria of permanent, temporary and organisational badges.
This is non refundable and applies to replacement badges also.
How long does the badge last?
The Blue Badge lasts for a period of between 12 months and 3 years. When this time is up, you will need to apply again for a new badge. It is best to do this several weeks before your badge expires.
- Contact your local Highland Council Service Point if you need to get your badge renewed, or need a replacement badge if it is illegible or damaged.
- Renewals are treated like new applications and so you should obtain a form from your local Service Point and complete it and submit it as before.
How do I display my Badge?
When you are parking and want to enjoy the benefits of your badge you must display the badge on top of the dashboard of the vehicle where it can be clearly read through the front windscreen. If there is no dashboard in your vehicle, you must still display the badge in a place where it can be clearly seen and read from outside the vehicle. The front of the badge should face upwards.
The side showing the photograph should not be visible through the windscreen.
I don’t drive anymore. Can I still apply for a Badge?
You don't have to be a driver or a car owner to apply for or have a badge. The badge is issued to you as a person and it can be used in any vehicle you travel in. However, you should keep the badge with you at all other times and not allow someone else to hold it on your behalf. The driver of the vehicle should also be made aware of their responsibilities and regulations of usage of the blue badge.
If I have a Badge, can I park anywhere?
The parking concessions available to badge holders include:
- Parking free of charge and without time limit at parking meters on street and ‘pay-and-display’ on street parking;
- Parking on single or double yellow lines in Scotland without any time limit; and
- Parking in greenways outside times of operation. The Blue Badge must be displayed at all times to obtain these parking concessions. If in doubt at any time, you should check with the local authority. Always try to park in bays instead of parking on yellow lines.
Can I take my Badge abroad?
Yes. The badge can be used in any EC country. If you are travelling to the Americas or Australia we suggest you contact the relevant Embassy for information.
Can a visitor, who has been rewarded an equivalent Disabled Parking Badge from a non EU country get a temporary Blue Badge whilst visiting Highland?
Any visitor to Highland who has the equivalent to a Blue Badge from a non EU country can get a temporary Blue Badge. The expiry date will be matched from that of their existing Badge from the non EU country and can be used within normal Blue Badge guidelines for this duration. To apply for this, please present at any Service Point, where a Badge will be organised after the non EU Badge is viewed. A temporary visitors Badge will not be exempt from our £20.00 administration fee.
Can I have more than one badge?
No. Only one badge is issued per person. If you regularly travel in more than one car it is the badge holders responsibility to move the badge from car to car.
I go to the chemist/supermarket etc for a badge holder. Can I use this badge to park close by?
No. Unless you qualify for and hold a badge in your name, you cannot use a disabled parking bay. Under no circumstances are you allowed to use someone else's badge, even if running an errand for them. Such use is an offence and traffic wardens and the Police have been given additional powers to inspect badge where they suspect misuse.
Why does my Blue Badge Expire?
The current regulations state that badges are awarded for up to 3 years only. When you receive your new badge or if you are notified that your badge will not be renewed you should return the expired badge to us.
I can’t carry shopping anymore. Can I apply for a Badge?
The Badge is issued for problems with walking. We cannot take any account of problems with carrying your shopping unless upper arm disability creates specific problems with steering by hand a car driven by you or with putting money in a parking meter. These conditions are described more fully in the regulation for Blue Badges.
What do I do if I think a Badge is being mis-used?
Misuse of a badge is an offence and may lead to a £1,000 fine. Common forms of misuse of the badge include the following
- allowing family members or carers to use your badge when you are not with them to do something on your behalf, such as shopping or collecting something for you;
- allowing non disabled people to take benefit from your badge while you sit in the car;
- displaying a badge photograph side up so that the details on the front cannot be read;
- copying or tampering with the badge; and
- using the badge if it is expired or if you are no longer eligible. The badge remains the property of the local authority. They can ask for the badge to be returned if they consider that it is being misused.
If you suspect that a Blue Badge is being misused please call 01349886604. We will investigate any misuse thoroughly.
What do I do if my badge is lost, stolen or faded?
You must contact us to request a replacement. If your Badge is less than 3 months from its expiry date you will have to renew your application by re-applying. Please ensure that the badge is only displayed when in use. You should also check it regularly to ensure all details remain legible.
I cannot access a photo booth – what should I do?
Please adhere to the blow standards as much as possible:
The photograph must be a true likeness, taken within the previous six months; the face should be uncovered and un-obscured, looking directly at the camera. You should print your name, or get a parent or guardian to print, on the back of the photograph.
Is everyone required to provide photographs to accompany their application?
Yes. It should be emphasised that the photograph is not on display when the badge is in the car being used by the badge holder but helps traffic wardens and police to ensure that only badge holders use the few spaces dedicated for disabled parking. However, in exceptional cases of severe facial deformity, applicants are not required to provide photographs.
Are organisations charged by the application or the actual number of badges issued?
The charge is per badge issued.
How do I pay the £20.00
When the council has received all necessary evidence that qualifies you to a blue badge the council will call you informing you your badge is ready for final processing and awaiting payment.
You may pay by phone using a credit or debit card by calling the Service Centre on 01349 886604 or by visiting your local Service Point. Please be aware credit card payments are subject to a surcharge of 2%.
From 1st April 2011 the only accepted method of payment for a Blue Badge is Credit or Debit card.
Are there any exemptions to blue badge charging?
No, it is a fixed charge.
Can I get a refund if I lose my blue badge or it is stolen?
No, any loss of blue badge and stolen property should be reported to the police in the first instance and The Council.
Will I be charged if I need a replacement?
Yes, you will be charged the administration cost of £20.00.
What if the blue badge is no longer required?
There will be no refund process for any blue badge issued as the charge is to cover administration costs.
The badge should be returned to:
Blue Badge Scheme
The Highland Council Service Centre
Alness Point Business Park
What if my application is rejected?
Should your application be rejected there will be no charge made. Additionally, to appeal a decision please contact the Highland Council Service Centre.
For help with completing the application form contact:
Blue Badge Scheme
The Highland Council Service Centre
Alness Point Business Park
Tel: 01349 886604
Fax: 01349 886655
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