Blue Badge Brexit: Disability permits still not recognized at some popular European destinations – owners face parking fines

  • Around 11 EU countries are currently “undecided” about the validity of UK blue badges
  • France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain have not yet said whether they will recognize them
  • The AA says this is a “simply unacceptable” Brexit outcome and needs to be addressed
  • Permit holders risk 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Disabled drivers have been warned that their blue badges will be withdrawn in some major European countries as ministers continue to negotiate their use.

The problem could affect disabled drivers in popular holiday destinations including France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain after Brexit.

Blue badges are allocated to people with disabilities or medical conditions to help them park closer to their destination.

However, since the UK left the EU two years ago, 11 countries still do not recognize the permits and those planning to use them abroad could face parking fines if they do not know they are not valid in the country they are visiting . .

Brexit blue badge: Eleven European countries – including France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain – have yet to confirm whether they will recognize UK disabled parking permits in their countries after Brexit, putting holders at risk of parking fines

The problem was highlighted by the AA this week as the big summer holiday begins – although for many there have been severe delays crossing into Europe via ferry or Eurotunnel.

The motoring group said blue badge holders should check before traveling abroad that their permit is recognized by the country they are visiting, with ministers still negotiating to make them valid outside the UK.

The 11 countries that are still “undecided” on UK permits are countries that do not have reciprocal arrangements.

This means that the UK’s blue badges are still not recognized in many popular destinations such as France, Spain and Italy, as well as in other countries including Bulgaria, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia, in what the AA describes as a “blatant Brexit hangover”. which could leave disabled Britons open to parking fines when permits are displayed.

The government’s website currently says all badge holders should “check the latest developments with the embassy of the country you are traveling to”.

But the motoring association said the consulate insisted they could not give advice to disabled drivers until an agreement was reached, which the AA said was “simply unacceptable”.

EU countries where blue badges are not recognized











Spain (including the Balearic and Canary Islands)

Source: Department of Transport

Jack Cousens, head of road policy at the motoring body, said: “Keeping blue badge users in limbo is simply unacceptable.

“Blue badges are issued for specific health reasons and to not confirm their status after two years is simply outrageous.

“Rather than risk it, we encourage blue badge users to use the drop-off and collection areas where possible when the car is parked in a disabled bay.

“Although problematic, this reduces the risk of the vehicle being fined or towed. Although the government’s website asks Blue Badge users to contact a consulate for further advice on whether their Blue Badge will be accepted, most were unable to provide any assurances or advice from the AA.

“Both the UK Government and the 11 European countries that have yet to ratify the status of UK-issued Blue Badges must urgently address this issue and bring clarity to all concerned.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “Negotiations over recognition of the blue badge are ongoing between the UK and individual EU states and motorists should check our guide to find out where the blue badge is recognized in the EU.”

According to the latest government figures, published in January, there were 2.35 million Blue Badge holders in England alone at the end of March 2021.

Those who have permission to travel abroad can check the government website to find out which European countries recognize the use of blue badges.


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