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Abandoned cars

The responsibility for the removal of abandoned vehicles, whether on private land or the public highway, lies with the local council although service procedure may vary from council to council.

What your local council can do

Your local council is able to:

  • remove an abandoned vehicle from a road (this includes private roads and estates - if the vehicle is on private land your council will serve a 15 day notice of removal on the owner/occupier)
  • dispose of abandoned vehicles of no value immediately (if vehicles are considered to be of some value the council will send a written notice of destruction to the owner -  if at the end of this notice period the vehicle is unclaimed the council can dispose of it)
  • trace vehicle ownership and impose fines on those abandoning vehicles by working with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Some councils have also been given authority to dispose of untaxed vehicles removed under DVLA powers.

Reporting an abandoned vehicle

To report an abandoned vehicle, you should contact the local council for the area in which it has been dumped. They will then investigate whether the vehicle has been abandoned and carry out checks to see whether it has been stolen or involved in an accident. If the vehicle has been abandoned on a road they will then remove the vehicle.

The police also have the power to immediately remove any vehicle which is left abandoned in breach of local traffic regulation orders, or is causing an obstruction or is likely to cause a danger.

In London, coucils are also able to remove such vehicles. The DVLA has powers to remove untaxed vehicles. Many local authorities have taken on these powers and so remove both untaxed and abandoned vehicles.

The following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website where you can find out more.

Do you need to dispose of your car or any other vehicle?

It is illegal to dump a vehicle in the street. A number of local councils operate a vehicle take back/surrender scheme for which they may charge a price.

Contact your local council to find out whether they operate such a scheme. Also you may request information on how to dispose of your vehicle safely and responsibly.

Have you thought about recycling your vehicle? You can find out how to go about recycling your vehicle and search for your nearest recycling centre by visiting the 'European metal recycling' website.

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