Following a consultation exercise in January 2018, the Department of Transport has announced that from 2019, hidden disabilities such as autism will be included in the Blue Badge scheme. This gives individuals and carers access to disabled parking spaces, which can make a big difference in leading an independent life.
The previous Blue Badge scheme prioritised physical disabilities, with eligibility of autism and other hidden conditions being open to interpretation by local authorities. The new scheme explicitly includes those who:
- cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
- cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress