Blue Badge parking scheme extended to those with 'hidden' disabilities by the Government
Drivers with so-called "hidden" or "non-physical" disabilities can now take advantage of the national Blue Badge parking scheme.
The Government has extended preferential parking privileges to those suffering from a variety of conditions, including anxiety disorders, brain injuries or dementia, with applications now being accepted by Lincolnshire County Council.
It means that more people can now park closer to their workplaces, doctors' surgeries and other destinations as they are less able to take public transport or walk longer distances.
Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transport, said: "These changes will offer a lifeline to those with hidden disabilities, giving them greater independence and making it easier for them to access work and stay connected with family and friends."
The expanded Blue Badge scheme runs alongside a review of enforcement measures in a bid to help councils tackle fraudulent use of the badges.
Coun Davies said: "Thankfully, there has been no indication of significant misuse of blue badges in Lincolnshire.
"However, if a complaint is made, and so long as there is sufficient evidence, we will take action.
"People misusing blue badges in Lincolnshire need to be aware that they run the risk of being taken to court.
"It is a criminal offence for non-disabled people to use a badge and they could be fined up to £1,000 if convicted."
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said: "We know that for some people, the possibility of not being able to find a parking space can make even leaving the house a challenge which is why the Blue Badge is so important.
"The scheme, which is already a lifeline for so many disabled people, will make a huge difference to those with non-visible conditions, such as autism, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and arthritis.
"It is my sincere wish that these changes will improve even more people’s lives."