Abandoned, unwanted and untaxed 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 owners and require them to dispose of the vehicle through registered scrap merchants or indeed to prosecute those that simply dump them.

The DVLA also have an interest in vehicles that are untaxed and left on the highway and they will clamp, remove and dispose of any such 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. Key elements in making this decision include:

  • Broken windows
  • Flat tyres
  • Extensive damage
  • Overall condition
  • Time at location
  • Tax/MOT status

Check tax status

Residents can check the status of a vehicle’s tax themselves by entering their vehicle registration number.

Untaxed vehicles

If the vehicle is untaxed or SORN and parked on a public road then the resident can report the vehicle to the DVLA by completing an online form.

Unwanted vehicles

You will need to contact a ‘vehicle dismantler’ authorised to take scrap vehicles. Find the closest vehicle scrapyard to you.

If it is a premature end of life vehicle (for example, as a result of a road traffic accident), your insurance company will deal with the removal and disposal.

Please be aware you must make sure that the DVLA is given the correct notification regarding any change in the status of your vehicle.

Nuisance vehicles

Abandoned vehicles often get confused with nuisance vehicles. An abandoned vehicle is always a nuisance, but a nuisance vehicle is not always abandoned.

A nuisance vehicle could be any of the following:

  • Poorly parked;
  • Causing an obstruction;
  • Involved in residential parking disputes;
  • Broken down;
  • Untaxed (see tab above)

These will not be dealt with by the council.

Public streets are for the passage of people and traffic and no one has a right to park on any specific part of the highway. You have no right to park your car (or any other possession including trailers, caravans or boats) on the road outside your front door and the council is under no obligation to provide you with a space.

If you own a caravan then our advice is that you should arrange storage on a reputable site in the vicinity.

If you own a boat then our advice is that you should arrange storage at a local sailing club or boat park.

Vehicles suspected of being abandoned

Details that are required from customer reporting:

  • Name & contact details
  • Exact location of the vehicle
  • Length of time the vehicle has been in the position (in majority of cases this should be over 3 weeks - although a shorter timescale would be considered if the condition is particularly poor)
  • Registration Number
  • Make, Model, Colour
  • Condition of the vehicle (Burnt out, wrecked, flat tires, number of wheels, any accident damage, debris inside the car or unlocked etc.)
  • Any knowledge of the owner
  • What makes you believe the vehicle has been abandoned
  • Have you noticed any suspicious activity around the vehicle

Please note

  • Anonymous reports will not be followed up (the council needs the customer’s details to justify a DVLA search and to be able to feedback on progress).
  • In the absence of clear evidence that the vehicle is abandoned or has been left for at least three weeks the vehicle will be monitored in situ for 21 days to allow for the possibility that the owner maybe on holiday in hospital etc.
  • In some instances, the vehicle will be referred by the authority 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 by the officer to present a danger to others either from its position or other compelling circumstances.