This guide provides information on your rights and responsibilities as a blue badge holder and also where your badge can and can't be used.
Use of the Blue Badge
When making use of the parking concessions available under the scheme, badge holders must display the badge on top of the dashboard or facia panel of a vehicle with the front of the badge (that is, the side showing the wheelchair-user symbol) facing forward so that the relevant details are able to be read from outside of the vehicle.
If the vehicle does not have a dashboard or facia panel, badge holders must exhibit the badge in a conspicuous position in the vehicle so that the relevant details are able to be read from outside the vehicle.
The badge should only be displayed when making use of the parking concessions available under the scheme, except if the vehicle is being driven by someone other than the badge holder for the purpose of entering or leaving an area (which is accessible only to vehicles displaying a blue badge) in order to pick up or drop off the badge holder.
Similar badges given to organisations caring for people with severe walking disabilities must not be used by non-disabled people for their own benefit. These badges must not be displayed except when the vehicle is being used for the benefit of people with severe walking disabilities.
Badge holders responsibilities
The purpose of the scheme is to allow badge holders to visit shops and other places more conveniently. They must ensure that the badge is used with care and attention to the rules:
- it is the badge holder's responsibility to ensure that the badge is used properly. It is in their own interest that the badge should retain the respect of other motorists. Badge holders should play their part
- badge holders must not allow other people to use the badge. To reduce the risk of this happening accidentally, the badge holder should remove the badge from display whenever it is not used for parking concessions
- badge holders should not use the badge to allow non-disabled people to take advantage of the benefits while the badge holder sits in the car. Although it is not illegal for a badge holder, or a non-disabled person waiting for the badge holder to return, to remain in the vehicle while the blue badge is displayed, consideration should be given to using a car park wherever possible
Misuse of a badge is a serious offence
It's important to be aware that:
- a badge can be withdrawn if it is misused it or others are allowed to misuse it
- it is a criminal offence for non-disabled people to use a badge. If they do so they are liable to a fine of up to £1,000
- it is a criminal offence to drive a vehicle displaying a blue badge unless the badge holder is in the vehicle or the vehicle is being driven by someone other than the badge holder for the purpose of entering or leaving an area (which is accessible only to vehicles displaying a blue badge) in order to pick up or drop off the badge holder
Where can a badge be used?
You should be aware that:
- badge holders may park in parking bays specifically marked for use by people with severe walking disabilities
- badge holders may park free of charge and without time limit at on-street parking meters and on street 'pay and display' equipment unless a local traffic order specifying a time limit for badge holders is in force. (Check local signs for information)
- badge holders may be exempt from limits on parking times imposed on other users. (Check local signs for information)
- badge holders may usually park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours except where there is a ban on loading or unloading and at a few locations where local schemes apply
- in many areas, reserved parking places for badge holders are provided. These spaces should be used in preference to parking on yellow lines. A time limit may be imposed on the use of such spaces. Badge holders must always display a valid badge when occupying one of these spaces
- badge holders who experience persistent difficulties with parking close to their home or place of work may be entitled to the provision of a disabled parking bay and should contact their local Divisional TransportNI Office (for address see below)
Where can a badge not be used?
The Blue Badge is not a licence to park anywhere. Badge holders must not park:
- within 15 metres of a junction
- where a ban on 'loading' or 'unloading' is in force (normally indicated by one or two yellow marks on the kerb) at the times shown on post mounted plates. For example:
However, in pedestrian areas, waiting and loading restrictions may be in force even where there are no yellow lines shown on the road or kerb. Details of any restrictions in force will be shown on signs erected at the entrance to the area:
- where there are double white lines in the centre of a road even if one of the lines is broken
- at a bus stop - the limits of which are clearly marked on the carriageway
- in a bus lane or fire lane during its hours of operation
- in a mandatory cycle lane
- on any clearway during its hours of operation
- on pedestrian crossings - including Zebra, pelican, toucan and puffin crossings
- on zig-zag markings before and after Zebra, pelican, toucan and puffin crossings
- in parking places reserved for specific users, for example permit holders, doctors, loading bays, taxis, cycles and so on
- in a residents parking bay unless there are signs showing that you may do so
- where temporary restrictions on parking are in force along a length of road, for example as indicated by no-waiting cones or the presence of a police officer
- on school 'keep clear' markings during the hours shown on a yellow no-stopping plate
Badge holders must also not park where it would cause an obstruction or danger to others. The following are likely examples:
- at school entrances, bus stops, on a bend, near the brow of a hill or hump bridge
- where it would make it difficult for others to see clearly, for example close to a junction
- where it would make the road narrow, for example by a traffic island or where roadwork is in progress
- where it would hold up traffic, for example in narrow stretches of road or vehicle entrances
- where emergency vehicles stop or go in and out, for example hospital entrances or fire station entrances
- where the kerb has been lowered or the road raised to form a pedestrian crossing point
- on a pavement unless signs permit it
- if a badge holder parks where it would cause an obstruction or danger to other road users, the vehicle could be removed by the police. The badge holder could also be prosecuted and the badge withdrawn
- the vehicle must be moved if a PSNI officer or a traffic attendant in uniform requests it
Where does the scheme not apply?
- the scheme does not apply on private roads
- the scheme does not apply in off-street car parks. However, some may provide spaces for disabled people. Always display your blue badge when occupying one of these spaces. You should check the signs to see if any concessions are available and if badge holders are exempt from payment
- a Blue Badge does not entitle its holder to free parking in the Department for Infrastructure charged car parks
- the scheme does not apply in certain town centres where access is prohibited or limited to vehicles with special permits issued locally
- the scheme does not apply on the road systems at some airports (for example Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport). You should, therefore, contact the airport concerned to check the car parking arrangements
Is a parking disc (clock) required?
At present Denmark, England and Wales are the only member countries of the European Union that require badge holders to display parking discs (clocks) under certain circumstances.
Badge holders who are planning to visit Denmark, England or Wales and require a parking disc should contact the issuing office in writing.
Can the Blue Badge be used abroad?
Badge holders can take advantage of the parking concessions available to people with severe walking disabilities whenever they are in a member country of the European Union.
Some other countries outside the European Union allow disabled visitors to take advantage of parking concessions provided for their own citizens by displaying the Blue Badge.
If you are planning to visit a country outside the European Union you should check with the appropriate authorities in that country to find out whether parking concessions available to their own nationals with disabilities are available to you.
Replacing your badge if lost or stolen
If your blue badge is lost or stolen, or becomes so badly worn or faded as to make it illegible, please contact the Blue Badge Unit to ask for a duplicate form.
You must then return the completed and signed form along with a passport type photograph and a cheque or postal order for £10 to the Blue Badge Unit.
Report your lost or stolen badge to the police
You also need to report the lost or stolen badge to the PSNI and get a Police incident number.
You will need to record the date the loss was reported, the incident number and the relevant PSNI station on your form.
Remember that disabled drivers are legally required to inform Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland (DVLNI) if their disability is such that it is likely or may become likely to affect their ability to drive (even if your car is adapted).
You can find contact information for the DVLNI at the link below.
Badges are issued for a maximum period of three years. The period of issue of a badge for a person in receipt of the higher rate mobility component of the disability living allowance or War pensioners' mobility supplement will be related directly to the period of award.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure that badge holders receive a reminder to renew their badge approximately four to six weeks before it is due to expire, it is the badge holder's responsibility to allow time to have their badge renewed before the current one expires.
Please contact the Blue Badge Unit if a reminder to renew a badge is not received.
Section 14A of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 (c. 53) as inserted by Article 33 of the Traffic Management Order (NI) 2005 includes a provision to give local parking attendants when carrying out their parking enforcement functions and the PSNI the power to require the occupant of a vehicle or anyone they consider may be returning to or leaving a vehicle displaying a blue badge, to produce a badge for inspection.
It is an offence if badge holder fails to produce a badge, without reasonable excuse, when required to do so by an authorised officer. On conviction the offence is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000.
Should you require this leaflet in an accessible format such as braille, large print, audio tape or in a minority ethnic language, please contact the Blue Badge Unit .
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