A decision to extend the Blue Badge parking scheme to people with mental conditions has been hailed as a 'lifeline'.
An overhaul of the system announced by the Government means people with 'hidden disabilities' such as autism will be able to get the parking permits as well as those with physical conditions.
Although the current rules do not bar people with non-physical disabilities, the Department for Transport said they were open to interpretation by the local authorities that issue them and it needed clarification.
Transport minister Jesse Norman said extending the scheme meant people with hidden disabilities would be able to 'enjoy the freedoms that many of us take for granted.'
The blue badge scheme was first launched in 1970 and around 2.4 million disabled people in England have one.
Jane Harris of the National Autistic Society said: 'A blue badge will be a lifeline and prevent a life of isolation.
'The existing rules are too focused on physical ability to walk and meant many autistic people didn’t qualify, reducing their independence.'