Blue badge scheme could be extended to cover autism and dementia
People with hidden disabilities such as dementia and autism could be given blue badge parking permits in England under new government proposals.
The Department for Transport said that only some councils currently recognised hidden disabilities.
It said the proposed new policy was designed to provide "clear and consistent" guidelines.
Mental health campaigners welcomed the proposals for providing a "lifeline" to many people with hidden disabilities.
It is hoped the proposals, being put to an eight-week consultation, would create parity in the treatment of physical and mental health.
If they 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 some 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.