Abandoned vehicles

Coronavirus update

Please be aware that due to the corona virus outbreak we are offering a limited service. Vehicles left causing a current and immediate danger will be prioritised.

Abandoned vehicles

The council has a legal duty to deal with motor vehicles that have been abandoned. This can be a costly process and we will therefore take steps to trace the owners and require them to dispose the vehicle.

Just because a vehicle is not being used does not mean that it is abandoned. It is often a matter for council officers’ discretion as to whether to declare it as abandoned.

What is an abandoned vehicle?

People often confuse an abandoned vehicle with a nuisance and/or untaxed vehicle. The Council only has the powers to investigate and remove genuinely abandoned vehicles.

For a vehicle to be classed as abandoned it should be untaxed plus at least three of the following:

  • vehicle is just a shell
  • burnt out
  • doors open
  • doors missing
  • bonnet open
  • seats and inside fittings missing
  • windows broken or missing
  • windscreen broken or missing
  • wheels missing
  • flat tyres
  • signs of vandalism
  • evidence of vehicle having been stripped for parts, for example bumpers and tyres missing
  • vehicle full of rubbish
  • missing registration plates
  • evidence of vehicle not having moved such as birds mess, dust, weeds, no windscreen wiper marks
  • evidence of neglect and poor condition, for example rust, very dirty, scratched or dented

You can check if a vehicle is taxed on the GOV.UK website.

Where the vehicle is untaxed, but does not appear to meet the criteria above, please report it to the DVLA via the GOV.UK website.

What happens after a council inspection?

Following an inspection the council may:

  • impound the vehicle immediately
  • attach a notice giving the owner 24 hours to remove the vehicle
  • write to the last registered keeper giving them 7 days notice (15 days notice on private land) to claim or remove it

Otherwise the vehicle may be impounded and disposed of.

In the absence of clear evidence that the vehicle is abandoned, the vehicle will be monitored in situ for 21 days to allow for the possibility that the owner maybe on holiday or in hospital. In some instances, the vehicle will be referred to the local branch of the DVLA to deal with.

Once the owner of a vehicle has been identified, it is no longer considered abandoned and the council are not able to remove it unless it is considered to be dangerous. The owner will be required to dispose of the vehicle correctly or face prosecution.

Claiming back a vehicle

Any vehicle that is declared abandoned will be towed away by the council and disposed of.

There may be an opportunity to claim the vehicle back, but this will involve paying the statutory recovery fee of £150, plus statutory storage fees of £20 per day and disposal fees of £75.