The main provision in relation to badges for disabled persons in Wales is section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (CSDPA 1970). The functions of the Secretary of State under section 21 now vest in the Welsh Ministers.
Section 21 allows the Welsh Ministers to prescribe:
- the persons eligible to receive a disabled person’s badge;
- the manner and circumstances in which the badge must be displayed;
- what should be done with a badge once retained by a constable or enforcement officer;
- the period of issue of a badge;
- the circumstances in which the badge must be returned to the issuing authority;
- the fee charged for a badge;
- the circumstances in which a local authority can refuse to issue a badge;
- the circumstances in which a person may appeal to the Welsh Ministers against a decision of a local authority in relation to a badge.
Section 21 also allows the Welsh Ministers to make regulations governing the operation of the disabled person’s badge scheme (also known as the ’Blue Badge‘ scheme) by local authorities. The current regulations are the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (Wales) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/1786) and they have been amended several times since 2000 to reflect evolving policy in this area.
The Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/1588) introduced new classes of eligibility comprising children under the age of 3 who travel with bulky medical equipment, persons with a severe disability in both arms who are unable to operate certain types of parking meter and those in receipt of a specified benefit under the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) Order 2011 (SI 2011/517) who have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
The Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/309) introduced new technical specifications for badges to reduce the risk of forgery, removed the fee for a badge for new applicants and empowered local authorities to refuse to issue or to withdraw badges following a single conviction under the legislation for fraudulent misuse of badges.
The Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/438) introduced a new class of eligibility for persons in receipt of the new Personal Independence Payment benefit and also removed the photographic requirements for persons whose disability prevents them from opening their eyes, closing their mouth or looking directly at the camera.
The National Assembly has legislative competence in relation to 'Badges for display on motor vehicles used by disabled persons' (see paragraph 15 of Part 1, of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006). No Assembly Act has been made in this subject area to date.
Although the Assembly has power to legislate in this area, the UK government is also able to pass laws for Wales relating to the Blue Badge scheme. The Disabled Persons Parking Badges Act 2013, for example, made provision for England and Wales in relation to improvement of security of badges in an attempt to reduce fraudulent copying of badges.