Blue Badge

I’m working up an annoyance into a rant, with a view to evolving it into a solution.

If you’re not in the UK (and other regions may have similar systems), the Blue Badge is a permit that allows disabled drivers and or passengers to park more easily, including in places otherwise restricted. For some, that may allow closer parking to shops or to public toilets – both for obvious reasons – or to remain parked for longer than normally allowed. It may entitle the disabled driver or passenger to use designated parking spaces. It is, in truth, a useful device and therefore likely to being mis-used.

I’m not an expert here, but my mum has one. She stopped driving long ago, having lost the function of one of her legs (albeit not the constant pain within it). She can walk with a frame for a short distance, and has a mobility scooter for trips to the local shop, but is largely confined to home unless taken out by someone else. I should mention she lives more than two hundred miles from me… but she has a few lovely and accommodating friends.

Her blue badge is renewable, every few years, and here’s the rub. Each renewal is like a new application. All the hurdles of verifying need are presented anew. Part of this is the demand that you prove your identity. As someone in her ninth decade, my mum has no driving licence any longer, and no in-date passport. As for where she’s left her birth certificate, well that’s a mystery for another day because we’ve hunted high and low and I’m now imagining someone else who required positive verification has not posted it back to her.

I’m in the process of obtaining a replacement birth certificate, but that’s likely to take longer than we have before her current parking permit expires. That will mean she will face longer walks from the car to where she needs to be, longer walks to perhaps urgently needed facilities, and some places will be out of bounds because double yellow lines are everywhere!

It didn’t ought to be so hard. Yes, fraud is an issue, but for someone with a long standing and permenant condition surely a tick box “are your circumstances unchanged?” would not risk everyone running around with false permits? A friend wrote, after another online concersation, that a work collegue, “having had polio when he was a child, had a severe problem walking. He was entitled to a Motability vehicle and he had to jump through similar hoops each time he renewed the vehicle/allowance… it was like a new application and the hurdles seemed to get higher each time.”

I’m collecting my thoughts at this stage, but it seems to me that there’s scope for an MP intervention here – not for my mum personally but for a national change in the process, perhaps through an Early Day Motion. My mother won’t want to be a bother, but I’m willing to bet I’m made of the other stuff…

I said earlier I’m not an expert here. If you are, please do comment.

One response to “Blue Badge”

  1. All power to you. Too many things that in theory are supposed to help disabled people are actually set up to be a lot of work and difficult to get through.

    Liked by 1 person

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