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Abandoned vehicles

Our Customer Service Centre on Southfield Road is now open for essential enquiries by appointment only. Please be aware that it is mandatory for face coverings to be worn on the premises. More information, including how to make an appointment, can be found in this news story.

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

Report an abandoned vehicle

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 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: Tue 5th March, 2019 @ 16:57