Abandoned vehicles - what are the council's duties?

It is the council's duty to remove vehicles which appear to have been abandoned subject to the provisions laid down in the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978, the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. We will take the following factors into account when deciding whether a vehicle has been abandoned:

  • The length of time the vehicle has been in its current position.
  • The overall condition, age and appearance of the vehicle.
  • The status of the vehicle in respect of Tax, MOT and SORN.
  • The presence of a number plate.
  • Apparent roadworthiness.
  • Security.
  • Proximity of the vehicle to the registered address of the last registered keeper.

Vehicles which are simply untaxed are not abandoned vehicles. The DVLA has powers to take enforcement action against owners of untaxed vehicles. You can report an untaxed vehicle online.

If a vehicle is on private land, we must give the occupier of the land 15 days notice before removing it. If the occupier of the land objects to the vehicle being removed then we cannot remove the vehicle.

For highways and public land, notice periods are seven days, or 24 hours or, in exceptional circumstances, immediately if the vehicle is in a dangerous condition.

Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence which could result in the registered keeper being served with a fixed penalty notice or being prosecuted.

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