Parking permits to cover 'hidden disabilities' in England (blue badge trends)


EXCERPT: Blue badge parking permits are to be made available for people in England with "hidden disabilities" such as autism or mental health problems. [...] people with non-physical disabilities would have an equal right to free parking from next year. [...] Similar changes have come into effect in Scotland and Wales. When the changes to the blue badge scheme in England are introduced, they will extend eligibility to:

people who cannot make a journey without "a risk of serious harm to their health and safety" or that of others, such as young children with autism
people for whom travel causes "very considerable psychological distress"
and those with considerable difficulty walking, meaning "both the physical act and experience of walking"

About 2.4 million disabled people in England currently have a blue badge. The scheme, first introduced in 1970 to make access easier for disabled people, costs £10. [...] Jane Harris, director of external affairs at the National Autistic Society, said the change would "make a massive difference to the lives of many of the 600,000 autistic people in England, and their families". Many autistic people experience major challenges in travelling, making detailed preparations and suffering "overwhelming anxiety" about things going wrong, she said...


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