The blue badge parking permit scheme was extended a year ago to include people with non-visible disabilities such as autism, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and anxiety.
But a BBC Shared Data Unit and Local Democracy Reporting Service investigation reveals what the disability equality charity Scope calls a “shocking disparity” between the approval rates of people with non-visible disabilities and those of people with physical disabilities.
In fact, scores of local authorities had lower approval rates for blue badge parking permits from non-visible disabilities applicants.
For ten councils the difference was so stark, it was more than 50 percentage points between the two types of application.
The Department for Transport(DfT) told us it would review the impact of the new criteria.
While the new criteria were only introduced in England, applications for people with cognitive impairments were already considered in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Our analysis of the 109 councils who gave full responses found:
Ninety-two councils had higher approval rates for physical impairments applications
For 36 of those councils, the approval rate was over 33 percentage points higher for physical impairments applications
For ten councils, the difference was greater than 50 percentage points
Some 28,132 blue badges were issued to people with non-visible disabilities in England in the first 12 months.
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