Rights and responsibilities of Blue Badge holders

A Blue Badge will help you park closer to your destination, either as a passenger or a driver. The badge is for on-street parking only. Off-street private car parks, such as those provided in hospitals or supermarket car parks, are governed by separate rules.

People who can use a Blue Badge

If you are a Blue Badge holder, it is for your use and benefit only.

It must only be displayed if you are travelling in the vehicle as a driver or passenger and are personally making use of a parking concession.

Don’t allow other people to use the badge to do something on your behalf, such as shopping or collecting something for you, unless you are travelling with them.

You should not allow people without a disability people to take advantage of the benefits from your badge while you sit in the car.

You must never give the badge to friends or family to allow them to park for free, even if they are visiting you.

Misusing a Blue Badge

It is a criminal offence for you or anyone else to misuse a badge. You must never copy the badge, try to alter the details or continue to display the badge when you no longer need it.

Misusing a badge could lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Displaying a Blue Badge

When using a parking concession you must display the badge on the dashboard or fascia panel where it can be clearly read through the front windscreen. If there is no dashboard or fascia panel, you must display it where it can be clearly read from outside the vehicle.

The front of the badge should face upwards showing the hologram. The side showing the photograph should not be visible through the windscreen.

You must make sure the details on the front of the badge are legible. If they become illegible through fading or wear and tear, you must return the badge to the Blue Badge Unit so it can issue a new one. Displaying an illegible badge or incorrectly displaying the badge may result in a Penalty Charge Notice.

Parking clocks (discs)

Denmark, England and Wales are the only EU countries that require badge holders to display parking clocks under certain circumstances. Please check with the relevant authority before you travel.

If you need to use a parking clock with your Blue Badge you must display it on the vehicle’s dashboard or fascia panel, or in a place the time can be seen clearly through the front windscreen from outside the vehicle. The clock should be set to show the quarter hour period during which you arrived.

The parking clock can’t be used instead of or without the Blue Badge.

Renewing a Blue Badge

It is your responsibility to have your badge renewed before the current one expires. You can reapply for a Blue Badge up to eight weeks before it is due to run out.

Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged Blue Badge

You must report lost or stolen badges to the PSNI and ask for an incident number. You will need this number to get a replacement badge.

Damaged or faded badges must be returned to the Blue Badge Unit before a replacement can be issued.

Returning a Blue Badge

You must return the badge to the Blue Badge Unit if:

  • the badge has expired
  • your medical condition or mobility improves and you are no longer eligible
  • a replacement badge has been issued for one that is lost or stolen and the original is found or recovered -  then return the original badge
  • the badge becomes damaged or faded and is illegible
  • the badge is no longer required, for example, if you are confined to your home
  • the badge holder is deceased

If you have an Organisational Blue Badge, you must also return the badge if the organisation:

  • no longer exists
  • no longer cares for people who would qualify for a Blue Badge in their own right

Blue Badge parking rules

Places you can park

The following table details the parking concessions available to Blue Badge holders. You must always display your Blue Badge when parking and check signs to see what the rules are.

Place Conditions

Yellow lines

You may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours if it is safe to do so but not within 15 metres of a junction or where there are restrictions on loading or unloading – indicated by yellow kerb dashes and/or signs on plates.

You are not entitled to park on yellow lines in ‘off-street’ car parks.

‘On-street’ Controlled Parking Zones (pay and display areas)

You may park free of charge and without time limit at all ‘on-street’ pay and display areas unless a local traffic order specifying a time limit is in force. 

‘On-street’ disabled bays

You may park free of charge and without time limit unless signs say differently. Always try to use these bays instead of parking on yellow lines.

Council owned ‘off-street’ charged car parks

You may park in disabled parking bays, however, a Blue Badge does not entitle you to free parking. You must make sure your vehicle is parked wholly within the markings of the parking bay or you could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

Places you need to check before parking

The following table lists local parking schemes and places where parking restrictions are in force. Always check signs before parking. If in doubt, ask the relevant authority before you travel.

Place Conditions

‘On-street’ parking areas where all motorists can park for free but only for a limited time

Badge holders may park for as long as they wish unless signs say differently.
Council owned ‘off-street’ non-charged car parks There are some non-charged car parks where you can park for free.  Always check signage before parking. 
Private ‘off-street’ car parks such as shopping centre or hospital car parks Off-street car park operators should provide parking spaces for people with disabilities. However, it is up to car park owners if badge holders can park free of charge. Do not assume you can park for free.
Road systems and car parks at airports Contact the airport beforehand to check parking arrangements.

Places you can’t park

You must not park:

  • within 15 metres of a junction
  • in places where a ban on loading or unloading is in force (normally indicated by yellow marks on the kerb) at the times shown on the post mounted plates
  • in pedestrian areas where waiting and loading restrictions may be in place even though there are no yellow lines shown on the road or kerb - details of restrictions will be shown on signs 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
  • in parking places reserved for specific users such as resident’s bays, permit holders, doctors, loading bays, taxis, cycles
  • in pedestrian crossings (zebra, pelican, toucan and puffin crossings), including any areas marked by zig-zag lines before and after the crossings
  • on any clearway within its hours of operation
  • at a bus stop –the limits of which are clearly marked on the carriageway
  • in a bus or fire lane during its hours of operation
  • in a residents parking bay unless there are signs showing you may do so
  • on school ‘keep clear’ markings during the hours shown on a yellow no-stopping plate
  • where temporary parking restrictions are in force, for example, as indicated by no-waiting cones or the presence of a Police Officer

You must not park where it would endanger, inconvenience or obstruct pedestrians or other road users. This includes:

  • 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 or opposite a junction, except in an authorised parking space
  • where it would make the road narrow, such as by a traffic island or where roadwork is in progress
  • where it would hold up traffic, such as in narrow stretches of road or blocking vehicle entrances
  • where emergency vehicles stop or go in and out, such as hospital entrances
  • where the kerb has been lowered or the road raised to help wheelchair users
  • on a pavement, unless signs permit it

The Scheme does not apply on private roads. It also doesn’t apply in certain town centres where access is prohibited or limited to vehicles with special permits issued locally. Always check signage.

Using a Blue Badge abroad

EU countries

The Blue Badge is recognised throughout the EU so you can use the parking concessions available in all EU countries. Their concessions may not be the same as in Northern Ireland and may change over time, so you should check what is available before travelling.

Non-EU countries

There are no arrangements for people to use the badge outside the EU in countries such as USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, although they may be prepared to recognise the Blue Badge. You should check what concessions are available before travelling.

Blue Badges for support organisations

Organisations that both care for and transport people with disabilities (who would qualify for a Blue Badge in their own right) may apply for an Organisational Blue Badge.  

The same parking concessions apply as to those for individuals.

Rules that apply to support organisations

An organisational badge will have the stamp or logo of the organisation on the reverse of the badge, rather than a photograph. This side should be hidden from view when the badge is on display.

You can only use an Organisational Badge when transporting people who would qualify for a Blue Badge in their own right. It should only be displayed when dropping off or picking up eligible people with disabilities from the place where the vehicle is parked.

You must never use a copied badge to park or try to alter the details on a badge.

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