Ministers pre-empt Brexit by changing disabled drivers blue badges putting holidaymakers at risk of parking fines

Government jumps Brexit by removing EU symbols from blue badges.

As you can see from the picture above the Government has sneakily already decided that Britain has left the EU as far as 2.35 million disabled blue badge holders are concerned.

My new card for my wife issued this week has been stripped of its EU symbols even before we have left the EU. It appears to reassure people by using nine foreign languages to describe it as a disabled parking card.

But investigating the real position of disabled driving post a ” No Deal ” Brexit this is totally misleading and could easily end up with holiday makers being fined in some European countries for illegal parking.

At present as a member of the EU all UK blue badge holders can get concessionary parking in virtually all European countries. If they hire a car they can take the blue badge with them as it is not tied to a particular vehicle. And the Independent Living advice site thinks nothing has changed. It says:

“It is not likely that Brexit would lead to the UK changing the format of the Blue Badge, so there is no obvious reason why it would not continue to be recognised across Europe, in the same way as those issued in Switzerland and Norway. “

However a more detailed investigation on a disabled motorists site paints a different picture.

It shows that once Britain leaves with a No Deal using this card will vary from country to country. In Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Iceland, Norway,Austria, Poland,Luxembourg, Romania and Cyprus there will be no problem.

But in France, Croatia, Finland,Leichenstein and Latvia the card won’t be recognised because we are from a third country.

In Germany you will have to notify the local council or police and get a card to park as a disabled driver.

And it may not be recognised in Holland, Belgium or the Czech Republic because it does not have a disabled wheelchair sign on the card.

In Malta and Portugal you must apply in advance for a special card if you want to use it. At present as a member of the EU you have no problems and can use the Blue Badge Card.

In Italy you have to check with the local council – it will vary from city to city where you can use your card. At present you can use it everywhere. The same applies to Lithuania and Hungary.

In the UK it is being left to the local council’s discretion whether they want to recognise blue badges from other EU or European Economic Area countries.

So far as I can see the government does not seem to have thought about it at all – most advice dates from 2008 and 2013 on Whitehall websites.

9 thoughts on “Ministers pre-empt Brexit by changing disabled drivers blue badges putting holidaymakers at risk of parking fines

  1. Presumably this will work the other way too, and disabled badge holders from the EU are liable to find themselves being ticketed for illegal parking when visiting the UK?

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    • Yes but it will be like Germany and Italy – it will depend on the local council whether it recognises the EU blue badge as the decision appears to be devolved to all 408 local councils rather than having a national policy. That is different to driving licences – Most EU and EEA countries won’t recognise the UK driving licence after Oct 31 without a deal but we will recognise the EU driving licences.

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      • Nonsense. They are issued by local councils here but to nationally agreed standards – it is not local or there would be different ( says 408) criteria if they were and it would be a postcode lottery if you got one.
        The great thing about the EU is that with one of these cards you can park in all disabled places in Europe. i have used it in France both in supermarches and in towns. Now thanks to this short sighted policy it will not be recognised in France making it more difficult for my disabled wife to get about ( disabled places are bigger to accommodate wheelchairs if necessary!

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  2. Pingback: Changes to ‘blue badge’ mean disabled drivers may be fined in EU countries | Vox Political

  3. Barry, They might be local issue but the stars and EU format meant that they were universally accepted across the EU. Does not matter where issued. I have used mine in Holland, Spain. Portugal and France. the fact that it was issued by Norfolk County Council is irrelevant. Given the choice of an EU flag or not being able to use disabled parking spaces, I know which I would prefer!

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  4. In this day and age disabled badge holders should not have to worry about parking when they are on holiday or travelling on business. It seems to me this is not a Brexit issue, just backwards thinking, lack of co-ordination and poor design of the new card. There should be a universally accepted symbol. It is not just folks in wheelchairs who have this problem, there are people with stomas, catheters and other hidden disabilities who need to be able to park near facilities.

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    • Yes Christine you are absolutely right. This has been made a Brexit issue through the rush to No Deal. In fact apart from facilitating the use of the card the EU has no role. Who can claim a card is still decided by our Parliament and government not by Brussels. And officials here have been daft enough not to put an international symbol on it, therefore making it unusable in three EU countries Yet some Brexiteers who have commented on this seem to think it is some victory for them removing the EU symbol rather than a lot of trouble and inconvenience for disabled people and those who drive them around.

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