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Abandoned vehicles

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

Report an abandoned vehicle

A vehicle is classed as 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 we can only deal with a vehicle as abandoned when the criteria is met, an authorised officer inspects and deems that it is abandoned.

In order for an Officer to investigate an abandoned vehicle, all reports will go through a triage process.  If a number of the criteria below is met then an Officer will be appointed to inspect.  If the criteria is not met then an appointment to inspect will not be offered at this stage:

  • Body work is in poor state with parts of the vehicle coming loose
  • Flat tyres
  • Broken windscreens
  • Broken windows
  • Burned out
  • Containing significant amounts of waste
  • Been in situ for at least six weeks (and they give date they first noticed)

If the car has run out of MOT or tax but is otherwise in a roadworthy condition then this would not meet the criteria.  Any vehicles which have no tax and MOT should be reported to the DVLA website who will deal with the matter.

Street Management cannot take action against a vehicle just because it has parked in one place for a period of time, it is only if there are other issues (examples above) which would deem the vehicle to be in a poor state and unroadworthy or a hazard to the public. 

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 costs to remove, store and dispose of the vehicle are outlined in The Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles (Prescribed sums and Charges) Regulations 2008.  

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 and costs for removal, storage and disposal.

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Last updated: Thu 19th November, 2020 @ 13:56