‘Simply unacceptable’: Blue Badge holders face parking fines in Europe due to Brexit issue

Driving abroad: RAC's tips for driving in Europe

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The AA is warning drivers that they may be subject to parking fines when abroad with a handful of European countries not accepting the Blue Badges. Popular holiday destinations of France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece are among 11 European nations yet to decide if a UK-issued Blue Badge is to be recognised.

Other nations where a UK Blue Badge may not be accepted are; Bulgaria, Iceland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia.

Consulates are unable to provide advice to drivers, despite the UK Government telling drivers to ask for them.

The motoring organisation suggests that the 11 countries will not accept the Blue Badges given there is no reciprocal arrangement.

Because of this, disabled drivers risk leaving themselves open to parking tickets, or their car being towed away if they used them in a disabled parking space.

The situation has been described as a “Brexit hangover”.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “To keep Blue Badge users in limbo is simply unacceptable. 

“Blue Badges are issued because of specific health reasons and to not have their status confirmed two years down the line is simply outrageous.

“Both the UK Government and the 11 European nations yet to ratify the status of UK issues Blue Badges need to resolve the matter urgently and provide clarity for all concerned.”

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While the uncertainty remains, Blue Badge holders are advised to use drop-off and collection zones where possible while the car is parked in a non-disabled bay.

This has been described as “problematic”, but reduces the risk of a vehicle being given a ticket or towed away.

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, also commented on the struggle disabled drivers face.

He said: “As Brexit negotiations continue, some rulings might affect UK drivers who are planning to get away this summer. 

“Decisions around Blue Badge permits are still unclear in popular holiday destinations, such as France, Spain and Portugal. 

“The disruptions around Blue Badge permits won’t mean that you can’t travel, but it could mean that you’ll be limited on where you can park in certain destinations. 

“Extra planning might be needed to see what facilities are available around you, should you need them.”

He added that outside of Brexit negotiations, drivers should prepare ahead of their European trip.

This would include checking they are covered to drive abroad on their car insurance and ensuring they have European breakdown cover.

In some cases, they may also need to purchase an international driving permit.

As with any long trip, drivers are urged to check their car for any issues and have their car serviced before setting off.

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