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Abandoned vehicles

An abandoned vehicle is a motor vehicle which is located on the highway, including pavements and grassed areas adjacent to roads. 

To speed up the process when reporting an abandoned vehicle, please give as much of the following information as possible:

  • date
  • exact location
  • make and model
  • registration (if any)
  • colour
  • whether taxed (you can check on DVLA website)
  • your details, and any other information that may be relevant

A vehicle is only abandoned ‘where it appears to a local authority that a motor vehicle is abandoned without lawful authority...’ (Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978). This means that a vehicle is only abandoned when the authorised officer at the local authority decides that it is abandoned.

If you are unsure whether a vehicle is abandoned or not, the following points may help you decide:

  • is the vehicle taxed? (this should not be the sole consideration)
  • are the tyres flat?
  • is there any litter, weeds, etc. under the vehicle indicating that it has not been moved for some time?
  • are the brake discs rusty?
  • is the windscreen or any of the windows broken?
  • is mould present on either the inside or the outside of the vehicle?
  • does the vehicle contain items of waste, for example tyres?
  • does the vehicle have a number plate?
  • do local householders, businesses, councillors or the police know how long the vehicle has been there and do they have any knowledge of who owned/abandoned it?

Abandoned vehicles on public highways or council land

Local authorities have powers to remove abandoned vehicles from the public highway (being the road, pavement etc. up to the edge of a property), under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 and can also take civil action to recover costs.

The statutory notice period of removal for disposal of 'wrecks' (ie. those cars without residual value - vandalised and burn-outs) is now 24 hours. For more information on out responsibilities, visit the government website via the link below:

We normally try to trace the keeper via DVLA, and attach a seven day notice and photograph the vehicle before removing it.

Failure to remove an abandoned vehicle may result in the issue of a fixed penalty notice of £200 or prosecution.

Abandoned vehicle on private land

We can remove abandoned vehicles on private land if requested by the landowner, but the landowner must take legal and financial responsibility. If they decide to use us to remove the vehicle, there is a charge to cover costs (£85 plus VAT per vehicle (subject to vehicle type and size).

The landowner does not have to report it to the Council to remove an abandoned vehicle on their land, they can take private action to remove it.

Private land includes residential car parks associated with private housing estates.

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