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Autistic boy wins blue badge battle with Brighton and Hove council
An autistic boy has been awarded a disabled parking badge after taking his case to the High Court fight – but council officers say they will not give other people with his condition the same automatic right.
Daniel Greenstein’s father, Tony, took Brighton and Hove City Council to court over its refusal to grant him a blue badge, on the grounds that the schoolboy’s mobility was not badly enough affected by his condition.
A judge ruled in his favour and the council relented – but only in Daniel’s case.
Mr Greenstein, a well known grassroots political activist in the city, said: “Because Daniel did not receive higher rate mobility disability living allowance, he did not automatically qualify for a badge.
“Although he can physically walk, his mental condition means it is dangerous to walk in town with him for any distance, because he has no road sense and runs off.”
A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City council said officers did not initially feel the guidance allowed them to issue a badge.
She said: “Like every council, Brighton and Hove must follow national legislation and guidance when issuing blue badges which we felt did not allow us to issue this badge.
“The council’s view is that the interpretation of the regulations is a matter for the Department for Transport, and after consulting with the DfT we have agreed to exercise our discretion to grant a badge in this case.
“The council is unable to change the national regulations, so cannot alter the way it issues blue badges.
“Within the regulations set out nationally, Brighton and Hove has been proactive in providing an efficient and fair service for blue badge holders.”
The Department for Transport said eligibility for a blue badge was not “condition specific”.
Its guidance says: “Councils should assess how a person’s disability affects their ability to walk.”
The council said it welcomed work by the Government to clarify the law.
Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes and a Government transport minister, is leading a consultation on whether eligibility for blue badges should be based on eligibility for disability benefits.