The Blue Badge loses its stars: Brexit vs Disability

Our community reporter Bernard Leach, a polio survivor, explains the effect of Brexit on his Blue Badge.

Spot the difference between these two Blue Badges. These are the ones that disabled motorists and passengers out on their dashboard when parking in designated parking areas for disabled people.

The badge on the left is mine that ran from Jan 2019 to 2021 (you must re-apply for a badge very two years). The one on the right runs from Jan 2022 to Dec 2024

Yes, you’ve got it, thanks to Brexit, there are no euro stars on the new badges. I’m surprised there aren’t any mini union flags decorating the new badge as it does look a little bare

From Jan 1st, 2022, when the Brexit transition period finished, we are proudly able to say that we will not be able to use the British blue badge if we travel to many European countries. Eh? What!

The UK government promised to negotiate their recognition with individual European nations, but a year later there is still uncertainty over the most popular holiday destinations including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Iceland, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Luxembourg.

In 2019, before Brexit and the pandemic kicked in, over 40 million people travelled from Britain to the countries which now do not recognise UK blue badges – accounting for almost half of all visits abroad by UK people worldwide. (The London Economic Dec 29th, 2021, https://is.gd/PpXwGn)

A Department for Transport spokesperson stated, “Negotiations on blue badge recognition are ongoing between the UK and individual EU states, and motorists can always contact their embassy for advice or assistance if they need it.” Yes, I can imagine that:

“This is the British embassy; how can we help?”

“I’ve just been stopped by a gendarme from parking in a disabled person’s parking spot saying my blue badge is no longer valid in France, can you help?”

“You should have looked at the Government website which will confirm that indeed your blue badge is at last free from the shackles of EU bureaucracy and that you can now proudly go and park your car elsewhere”

As Fazilet Hadi, of Disability Rights UK, told the London Economic: “For many disabled people, a car with a blue badge is the only option for being able to leave home. It is essential that the government ensures that blue badges are recognised across Europe to ensure that disabled people enjoy the same opportunities to travel.”

Did you miss? Bernard explains his recent experience with a disability assessment. Read the full article here.

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