PEOPLE in Blaenau Gwent with severe cognitive impairments such as autism are to be entitled to a blue badge for the first time due to a new Welsh Government initiative.

Blue badge eligibility is to be extended to individuals who cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid. This includes people with cognitive and sensory impairments. People who can stand and move but for no more than 50 metres will also be eligible.

In Wales there are around 230,000 Blue Badges in use and 2.5 million across the UK. The new extension will come into place on April 1 2013 Alun Davies AM welcomed the announcement by the Minister responsible for transport, Carl Sargeant, following proposed changes in the UK welfare benefits system.

He said: "Once again Welsh Labour is showing it is standing up for the vulnerable across Wales and giving support to those who need it most.

"People with severe cognitive impairments deserve to be entitled to the blue badge and it will really help them overcome barriers they face with work or simply accessing facilities such as shops or the bank."