In the three months after Blue Badge eligibility was opened up to include people with Parkinson’s, dementia, epilepsy and other hidden disabilities last summer, 12,299 people signed up.
The number of applications is equivalent to 130 people a day.
Transport secretary Grant Schapps made the change in August with the intention of providing equal parking rights to those with ‘invisible’ disabilities.
The government defines eligible persons as “people who cannot walk as part of a journey without considerable psychological distress or the risk of serious harm”.
Schapps commented: “People with hidden conditions like these have to fight not just their disability, but the psychological worry that others may not recognise them as disabled.
“I’m proud that our reform is already changing thousands of people’s lives, allowing those in need to carry on their daily lives with more confidence and helping combat loneliness and isolation.”
Meanwhile theft of Blue Badges and illegal use of Blue Badge parking spots is on the rise. Authorities are being increasingly vigilant about these matters.
The Local Government Authority estimated, for example, that Blue Badge theft increased by 500% in the period of 2013-2018.