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UK Disabled Blue Badge Scheme



There are two main categories for eligibility for a Blue Badge, those that are “eligible without further assessment” (previously known as the automatic criteria) and those that are “eligible subject to further assessment” (previously known as the discretionary criteria).

People who may be issued a badge without further assessment are those who are more than two years old and fall within one or more of the following criteria:


• receive the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance;
• receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement; or
• are registered blind.

People who may be issued a badge subject to further assessment by the local authority are those who are more than two years old and fall within one or more of the following criteria:

• drives a vehicle regularly, has severe disability in both arms and is unable to operate or has considerable difficulty in operating all or some types of parking meter;
• has a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.

In addition, children under the age of two may be eligible for a badge if they fall within either or both of the following descriptions:
• a child who, on account of a condition, must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around with the child without great difficulty;
• a child who, on account of a condition, must always be kept near a motor vehicle so that, if necessary, treatment for a condition can be given in the vehicle or the child can be taken quickly in the vehicle to a place where such treatment can be given.

Local authorities are responsible for issuing badges in accordance with the eligibility criteria in the regulations that govern the Blue Badge scheme. Therefore, the assessment procedures adopted by each local authority is a matter for them to decide upon. There are a number of different approaches which have been adopted by local authorities for assessing whether an applicant meets the “eligible without further assessment” criteria. For example, in some local authorities decisions on who 15 is eligible for a badge are made on the basis of an applicants’ self-reported information. In others, a medical assessment of the applicant is carried out by either the applicant’s GP or by an independent medical professional, such as occupational therapists or physiotherapists.

Blue Badge Scheme Statistics 2009/10

This publication presents statistics on parking badges for disabled people (“Blue Badges”) in England, including numbers of valid badges, applications and medical assessments. Upon issue a Blue Badge is valid for three years.

The data are derived from the department’s annual survey of local authorities issuing Blue Badges.

The key findings from Blue Badge Statistics 2009/10 include:

• The estimated number of valid Blue Badges held on 31 March 2010 was 2.55 million, compared to 2.47 million in 2009, an increase of 2.8 per cent.
• On 31 March 2010 4.9 per cent of the English population held a valid Blue Badge, an increase from 4.8 per cent in 2009.
• Of valid badges held on 31 March 2010, 36 per cent were issued without further assessment, 63 per cent were subject to further assessment and 1 per cent was issued to organisations. These proportions have remained broadly similar since 1997.
• The estimated number of Blue Badges issued during the year 2009/10 was 906,000.
• The estimated number of new (as opposed to renewal) applications for Blue Badges decreased from 424,000 to 418,000 between 2008/09 and 2009/10.

Valid Blue Badges at 31 March 2010

• The estimated number of valid Blue Badges held at 31 March 2010 was 2.55 million, compared to 2.47 million in 2009, an increase of 2.8 per cent.

• Of the 2010 total, 36 per cent were issued without further assessment, 63 per cent were subject to further assessment and 1 per cent was issued to organisations. These proportions have remained broadly similar since 1997.



.• On 31 March 2010, 4.9 per cent of the English population held a valid Blue Badge, an increase from 4.8 per cent in 2009.

• On 31 March 2010, 3 per cent of the English population were automatically entitled to a Blue Badge, this level was unchanged compared to 2009. 57 per cent of those automatically entitled to a badge held one in 2010, compared to 59 per cent in 2009.

• On 31 March 2010, the regions with the most Blue Badge holders as a proportion of the entire population were North East, North West and East Midlands (all 6 per cent), and the region with the smallest proportion of badge holders was London (3 per cent).

Blue Badges issued during 2009/10

• The estimated number of Blue Badges issued during the year 2009/10 (1st April 2009 to 31st March 2010) was 906,000.

• Of this total, 338,000 were issued without further assessment, 558,000 were issued subject to further assessment, and 10,000 were issued to organisations.

Applications and assessments for Blue Badges

• The estimated number of new (as opposed to renewal) applications for Blue Badges decreased from 424,000 to 418,000 between 2008/09 and 2009/10.

• Over the same period, total new applications accepted decreased from 367,000 to 349,000. This meant the overall acceptance rate for new applications decreased from 86 to 84 per cent.

• The regions with the highest acceptance rate of new applications in 2009/10 were the North East and North West with 91 per cent, and the regions with the lowest were Yorkshire and the Humber and the South West with 70 and 71 per cent respectively.

• The total number of renewal applications increased by 1.7 per cent, from 625,000 applications in 2008/09 to 635,000 applications in 2009/10.

• . The overall acceptance rate for renewed applications over the same period increased from 90 per cent to 93 per cent.

• The estimated number of medical assessments conducted in 2009/10 was 300,000. Successful applications made up 87 per cent of this total.

Strengths and weaknesses of the data

Data about Blue Badges are collected from local authorities in England. The survey is not compulsory and in each year some authorities do not provide figures.

Data provided by local authorities can vary in quality between authorities and from year to year. Local authorities use different systems to record these data, and follow different procedures and practices. This means that some authorities are unable to provide responses for all of the questions in the survey.

Where no data are available for an authority, or where some individual items of data are not available, data are estimated to produce aggregate totals at the England or regional level. Data are estimated using figures provided in previous or future years, or based on partial data supplied by an authority in the current year.

Due to difficulties in obtaining and estimating certain items of data, aggregate totals are not currently produced for many of the areas about which local authorities are asked for information. The survey questionnaire was extended in 2008/09, and data for many of the newer items is not yet robust enough to produce national aggregates, although it may be possible to publish these in future years.

On occasion, imputations for earlier years can be improved using directly-reported data for later years. Minor revisions to back-data can occur as a result, although trends are rarely affected substantively. The table below shows, for valid Blue Badges, the proportion of the annual estimates accounted for by imputation rather than direct measurement for the last two years.



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