Later this year the qualification criteria for Blue Badges are changing and this could have a big impact on your parking infrastructure
The qualification criteria are moving away in August 2019 from being solely based on physical ability to walk and have been expanded to cover people with mental health issues, Learning Difficulties and other non-mobility related needs:
From this date the assessed criteria will now be that a person who has been certified by an expert assessor as having an enduring and substantial disability which causes them, during the course of a journey, to—
(i) be unable to walk;
(ii) experience very considerable difficulty whilst walking, which may include very considerable psychological distress; or
(iii) be at risk of serious harm when walking; or pose, when walking, a risk of serious harm to any other person;
What this means to your organisation
On the surface of it this change is an obvious and welcome one but it has significant practical implications.
The layout of a typically accessible parking provision is based on not only the location of the parking, but also the size and the layout of the accessible parking bays. This additional space is to allow those customers with limited mobility to able to safely and independently exit and enter their vehicle.
The new Blue Badge provision serves to allow people who need designated parking close to an entrance but does not automatically necessitate the extra space traditionally afforded by these bays.
The increased number of Blue Badges which will enter circulation has obviously caused some concern:
Taken from a recent Able Mag article Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) CEO, Graham Footer commented:
“: “DMUK works to support the mobility of disabled people and there is no dispute that people with certain mental health conditions and cognitive disabilities could benefit from having a Blue Badge. However, the charity is very concerned that from August onwards numbers of Blue Badge holders will dramatically increase which will put more pressure on limited disabled parking which is poorly enforced and in some areas of the country not enforced at all. We are asking that all local authorities and private operators review their disabled parking provision now, before the change comes into force to make sure that they can manage increased demand.”
What to do now
It’s important that you start looking at the parking provision available and how to manage this asset for your disabled customers. An audit of what space is available and what likely adjustments you’d need to make to accommodate new badge holders whilst maintaining a quality of service for existing customers is critical.
Nimbus is able to support you through this process and provide informative audit reports guiding you to a reasonable stance and preparing you for August and Beyond