Abandoned vehicles are an eyesore and can encourage vandalism and arson, endangering lives, property and the environment. The Council has a duty to remove abandoned vehicles from the highway and other public areas.
How do I tell if a vehicle has been abandoned?
The Council can only deal with abandoned vehicles. The following criteria may help you determine whether a vehicle is abandoned:
- it has been parked in the same position for some time
- there is no apparent owner
- it could be in poor condition - broken windows, flat tyres, damaged panels etc.
- it may be unlocked
- it may have an invalid tax disc or no tax disc.
If the vehicle meets one or more of these criteria it may be abandoned and should be reported for investigation.
Reporting an abandoned vehicle
Please telephone 01422 288002 or use the online form Report abandoned vehicle.
When you report an abandoned vehicle please give as much of the following information as possible:
- the location of the vehicle (please be as accurate as possible)
- how long the vehicle has been left there
- make, model and colour
- registration number
- condition (e.g. burnt out, broken windows, flat tyres etc.)
- the expiry date of the tax disc if there is one.
Once a vehicle has been reported we will visit the site and inspect the vehicle. If we consider it to be abandoned and it is either on the public highway or in a public place we will remove it and take it for storage. A notice will then be sent to the registered keeper giving them 7 days in which to claim ownership. If the vehicle is not reclaimed within this period it will be disposed of.
Reclaiming an abandoned vehicle
If you have received notice that your vehicle has been removed by the Council you should contact us on 01422 288002 as soon as possible. To reclaim your vehicle you will need to produce the registration document V5 (log book) showing that you are the registered keeper, and pay the necessary removal and storage fees.
Penalties for abandoning a vehicle
Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence. The Council can prosecute the last registered keeper for this offence. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine not exceeding £2500. Alternatively the Council can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200.
If you wish to report a vehicle that is used or kept on the public road and appears to be unlicensed then this can be reported on line at: Reporting of unlicensed vehicles|.
If a vehicle is kept off-road it must either be taxed or have a current SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). Further information can be found at: Statutory Off Road Notices (SORN) and untaxed vehicles|
If you own a vehicle that you no longer want and would like to dispose of it you need to contact an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) who will recycle it for you. A list of ATFs in the local area can be found on the Environment Agency we site: Authorised Treatment Facilities|