Blue badge guidance and legislation: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

  • A copy of current blue badge code/guidelines that Scottish local authorities should be following.
  • Identification of the underlying legislation it stems from/enables/implements (so you can review qualification criteria related clauses).
  • A copy of any revised guidance since relating to extension of the scheme qualifying criteria since that code issued.
  • Also when will the updated Scottish code next be due for issue.


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide a copy of the Scottish Blue Badge Code of Practice because an exemption under section 30(c) (the effective conduct of public affairs) of FOISA applies. That exemption applies as the document is specifically designed for use by local authorities and regulated healthcare professionals when assessing applicants and is not published as there is a sensitivity around the guidance being misused for fraudulent purposes.

The underlying legislation is linked below:-
The Disabled Persons (Blue Badge for Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (

The Blue Badge eligibility criteria in Scotland, like those in the rest of the UK, are not based on what medical conditions individuals have, whether hidden or visible. Instead, they address cases where someone has mobility problems. This means that people with hidden disabilities or who are a risk in traffic can make an application for a Blue Badge if their condition constitutes one of the following:

  • a substantial disability lasting at least 12 months that means they cannot walk at all;
  • a substantial disability lasting at least 12 months that means they are virtually unable to walk;
  • a mental condition that means they lack awareness about the danger of traffic when making journeys.

These criteria can take into account factors like distance, time taken to walk, pain, and impact on health, and can also include cases where the mobility difficulty fluctuates. The criteria are set at a relatively high bar because the Scheme is designed to help individuals with the most severe mobility problems, to ensure they can park closer to where they want to go.

For this reason, there is no specific mention of particular hidden disabilities in either the legislation or the Scottish Code of Practice because, as previously stated, the eligibility criteria are based on the impairment of mobility regardless of the underlying medical condition.

In 2018, the 'Risk in Traffic' criterion was introduced. This was designed to cover those cases where someone’s behaviour is so severely affected that it is already difficult to keep them safe in traffic because they can’t be verbally or physically guided. In order to identify if an applicant meets this criterion, their application requires them to include a section completed by a sponsor who must be a health or social care specialist or teaching professional. If an applicant is deemed eligible at this stage, they may then be invited for an assessment with an Occupational Therapist or Mobility Assessor. The application form and process was designed in collaboration with healthcare professionals and only implemented after a successful pilot period.

We have no plans to change the legislation but as stated above we recently revised the Scottish Code of Practice document which guides local authorities in their administration of the scheme. As part of this we are strengthening guidance for mobility assessors in a move towards greater appreciation and awareness to non-visible disabilities and how these may play into mobility difficulties. This is in the process of being taken up by local authorities and will hopefully take affect soon.

It is important to note that Transport Scotland is only responsible for the legislation and policy concerning the overall Blue Badge Scheme, whilst individual eligibility decisions are made at local authority level.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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