Why do Blue Badge holders have an exemption for LEZs?

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Guest blog from Disability Equality Scotland

You may wonder why Blue Badge holder vehicles which do not meet minimum emission standards for the Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are exempt. Our response to that is – have you or someone close to you ever travelled with a disability?

When using a car with a disability, mobility may be an issue in terms of getting from the car to wherever you’re going, which is why Blue Badge spaces are always right at an entrance and have more space to account for things such as wheelchairs. Public transport can be fantastic, but for someone with a disability, the fact that they know with a Blue Badge they can travel door to door with as few issues as possible is key.

A Blue Badge is a mark that someone has a disability (which may be invisible) that may affect them while driving or travelling or may affect their mobility. It is normally valid for three years and then a new application must be made.

There are two main ways for people to qualify for a Blue Badge:

  • If you are registered blind, terminally ill or already getting some type of disability benefits you can qualify automatically.
  • If you have a physical, non-visible (hidden) or other disability that makes journeys very difficult you may qualify but might need an assessment.

The application process for receiving a Blue Badge is rigorous and requires evidence to be provided including a medical summary from a doctor or specialist with your name, address and confirmation of your conditions. Also, if relevant a repeat prescription that shows your name and address and confirms the medication you are taking.

A Blue Badge is linked to a person rather than a vehicle, so is still valid when the holder is a passenger in the car as in many cases, people may not be able to drive themselves.

Because the Blue Badge applies to the holder and not the vehicle, the Blue Badge exemption means that holders can travel in any of the four LEZs and in any vehicle, even if it’s not compliant.

Blue Badge holders, like everyone else, are concerned about pollution and the environment and where they can will have switched to LEZ compliant vehicles, however for those that can’t this gives them a safety net.

Several aspects of everyday life can be more difficult for many people who are Blue Badge holders, so this exemption means one less worry for them to think about and takes a weight off their minds.

Blue Badge holders must register the vehicle they’re travelling into a LEZ in if it is non-compliant. This must be done before entering a LEZ, otherwise they will have to go through an appeals process afterwards. They can register for a one-day exemption or long-term if it is going to be a regular occurrence. This means that they won’t have to register for every visit if they have a long-term exemption.

The process of registering is as easy as can be, and available for all accessibility levels due to the nature of the exemption, which is fantastic.

Blue Badge holders can register for an exemption here.

You can check if your vehicle (or the vehicle you will be travelling in) is compliant here.

Find out more about the LEZ Blue Badge holder exemption here https://www.lowemissionzones.scot/blue-badge-exemption