Brexit blue badge bedlam: Disabled permits still not recognised in some popular European destinations – leaving holders at risk of parking fines
- Some 11 EU countries are currently ‘undecided’ on the validity of UK blue badges
- France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain are yet to say if they will recognise them
- AA says this is a ‘simply unacceptable’ fallout from Brexit and needs resolving
- Permit holders are at risk of being stung with parking fines if they are unaware that UK blue badges are not valid in the country they are visiting
Disabled drivers have been warned that their blue badges will be rejected in some major European countries, as ministers continue to negotiate their use.
The issue could affect disabled drivers in popular holiday destinations including France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain following Brexit.
Blue badges are allocated to people with disabilities or health conditions to help them park closer to their destination.
However, since the UK’s departure from the EU two years ago, 11 nations still do not recognise the permits and those planning to use them abroad could be stung with parking fines, if they are unaware they are not valid in the country they’re visiting.
Blue badge Brexit bedlam: Eleven European nations – including France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain – are yet to confirm if they recognise UK disabled parking permits in their countries post-Brexit, putting holders at risk of receiving parking fines
The issue has been highlighted by the AA this week as the big summer getaway begins – though for many has seen severe delays crossing into European via ferry or the Eurotunnel.
The motoring group said blue badge holders need to check before travelling overseas that their permit is recognised by the country they are visiting, with ministers still locked in negotiations for them to be valid outside of the UK.
The 11 nations that are still ‘undecided’ on UK permits are those with no reciprocal arrangement in place.
It means UK blue badges are not yet recognised in many popular destinations, such as France, Spain and Italy and other countries including Bulgaria, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia in what the AA describes as an ‘outrageous Brexit hangover’ that may leave disabled Britons open to parking fines when displaying their permits.
The Government’s website currently states that all badge-holders should ‘check with the embassy of the country you are travelling to for the latest developments’.
But the motoring association said consulates had insisted they could not issue advice to disabled drivers until an agreement was reached, in what the AA says has become a ‘simply unacceptable’ situation.
EU nations where Blue Badges are not recognised
Spain (including Balearic and Canary Isles)
Source: Department for Transport
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the motoring organisation, said: ‘To keep blue badge users in limbo is simply unacceptable.
‘Blue badges are issued because of specific health reasons, and to not have their status confirmed two years down the line is simply outrageous.
‘Rather than take a chance, we would encourage blue badge users to use drop-off and collection zones where possible while the car is parked in a non-disabled bay.
‘While problematic, it reduces the risk of a vehicle being given a ticket or towed away. While the Government website asks blue badge users to ask the consulates for further advice on if their blue badge would be accepted, most could not provide any assurances or advice to the AA.
‘Both the UK Government and the 11 European nations yet to ratify the status of UK-issued blue badges need to resolve the matter urgently and provide clarity for all concerned.’
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘Negotiations on Blue Badge recognition are ongoing between the UK and individual EU states, and motorists should check our guidance to find out where the Blue Badge is recognised in the EU.’
According to latest government figures published in January, there are currently 2.35 million Blue Badge holders in England alone as of the end of March 2021.
Those with a permit travelling overseas can check on the government website to see which European nations do recognise the use of blue badges.