Blue Badge Brexit Update - July 25th 2022

Blue badge holders are being warned that their permits may no longer be accepted in Europe due to the fall out from Brexit 

The government are negotiating the status of the permits - which were recognised when the UK was in the EU, with 11 nations including popular European holiday destinations.

Currently maybe destinations such as France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy are undecided on recognising the blue badge parking permit, which are essential for disabled drivers to travel.

The government website is telling blue badge holders to check directly with the embassy of their destination country for the latest guidance, however most embassies are unable to provide any assurances or advice and disabled drivers may leave themselves open to parking fines if they use their permits in undecided countries. 

The AA motoring group have said that keeping blue badge users in "limbo" was "simply unacceptable". Head of roads policy for the AA, Jack Cousens, said: "Blue badges are issued because of specific health reasons, and to not have their status confirmed two years down the line [after the UK left the EU] is simply outrageous."

A Department for Transport spokesperson for the government has 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."

About the use of Blue Badge disabled parking permits in Europe

The Blue Badge parking scheme was first launched in 1970.  It is an EU wide scheme and there is a reciprocal arrangement with all EU countries so that disabled drivers can use their permit to park when they travel abroad. In 1998, the EU Member States agreed to recognise Blue Badge parking permits of a common format issued in all EU countries.

There are about 12 million people with a disability in the UK, and about two and a half million people currently have a Blue Badge parking permit.

There have been no official documents published to disclose the information surrounding Blue Badge Permit holders now that we have a Brexit Deal and the UK has left the EU.

Updated January 2022 - It appears the Blue Badge is no longer recognised in many European countries. We know the new design doesn't show the EU stars anymore. The UK Government website states that negotiations are still taking place. But, there has been no update to the information available on the site since 29 September 2021.

A list of the European countries on the site shows whether they still recognise the UK Blue Badge following Brexit. Several European destinations remain 'undecided', leaving no clear answer for travellers. Currently, limited information is available and no alternative scheme is in place. The 'undecided' status generally leaves blue badge holders unable to use permits in many European destinations. It invites badge holders to check with each country's embassy for up to date information.  Furthermore, for travellers to seek local advice for their destination.

If you are a visitor to the EU / EEA from another country with your own Parking Permit. Information provided by the F.I.A gives general advice about the use of parking permits around the world. Their website features as a 'further information' link from the UK government site. In some instances, information from the two sites differ slightly, such as the use of the UK permit in Spain. The differing advice suggests badge holders should be vigilant.

Air travel for disabled customers post Brexit

The EU Air Passengers Regulation 2006 requires operators to provide help to disabled passengers travelling in the EU. It was a European directive which established the rights of the disabled to access travel by air. Assistance through airports helps with boarding and getting off planes, with the transport of mobility aids and makes possible to enjoy independent air travel.

Passenger rights in regards to travelling after Brexit will remain unchanged.

Changes to car insurance post Brexit and UK stickers

All UK Vehicle insurance policies provide a minimum level of third-party cover to drive in the EU. This means you don't need to carry a Green Card. Post Brexit guidance changed in August 2021. Previously, drivers required a document called a Green Card, to prove their car was covered for driving in EuropeThe rules for car stickers on a vehicle number plate have changed again too.

Following Brexit, vehicle requirements meant that a GB sticker had to be displayed. This changed in September 2021 and requires vehicles to display a UK sticker instead. The rules for UK stickers are that you need one unless your number plate has UK on it, either alone or alongside a union flagIf your number plate is plain, has GB, an EU flag or the flag of England, Scotland or Wales then you still need a new UK sticker.

What about Health Insurance?

All European Health Insurance Cards issued before the end of 2020 will be valid until their expiry date (on the front of your card).

The government will issue a new card, called the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), that will cover chronic or existing illnesses, routine maternity care and emergencies.  This means that if a local citizen is entitled to free healthcare, you will be too.  In countries that do not offer free healthcare, you would pay the same amount as a local citizen.  It is advised to check that the country you are travelling to accepts the GHIC card. 

 The advice on the GOV.CO.UK website is that you should buy travel insurance with healthcare cover before going on holiday - especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

This is all we know about Blue Badges and Brexit, for now. 

We will follow news closely and keep this page updated.
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