Blue badge scheme could be extended to autism and dementia sufferers, People with dementia and autism could get blue badge parking permits in England under new government proposals.

It is hoped that providing the permits for those with hidden disabilities will create equality between the treatment of physical and mental health.

The Department for Transport said at the moment only certain councils were recognising hidden disabilities.

If the proposals go ahead, it will be the biggest change to the blue badge scheme since it was introduced in 1970.

Around 2.4 million people have blue badges in England, which allows them to park for free in pay and display bays, use disabled parking bays, and stay for up to three hours on yellow lines.

In London blue badge holders are exempt from paying the congestion charge.

‘Blue badges a lifeline,

Blue badge scheme could be extended to autism and dementia sufferers

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “Blue badges give people with disabilities the freedom to get jobs, see friends or go to the shops with as much ease as possible.

“We want to try to extend this to people with invisible disabilities.”

The Department for Transport said about 75% of badge users said they would go out less often if they didn’t have the flexibility to park with a blue badge.

The changes have been put out to an eight-week public consultation.

The National Autistic Society’s head of policy Sarah Lambert welcomed the proposal, and said it could provide a lifeline to many autistic people.

She added that many people living with the condition can “experience too much information” from their environment when travelling by public transport.