Abandoned, untaxed and unwanted vehicles

Any vehicle abandoned on the highway may be towed away by the Council (normally 7 days notice by letter) 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 £15 per day.

What are my rights when parking/storing an unwanted vehicle on the road?

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.

Technically, parking is an obstruction of the highway unless the council makes provision for parking by introducing parking bays. Conditions may be applied to the parking bays, e.g. time limit, payment, permit holders only, goods vehicles only, etc.

The council cannot reserve the area outside specific properties for the owners of the property. This would give private rights over what is a public asset and would be unfair in respect of those properties where adjacent parking places cannot be provided.

Acting under various Acts of Parliament, councils are able to take action where vehicles have been left on the road. 

Will the council take action if the vehicle is untaxed?

It is an offence to leave a vehicle on the public highway, which is not displaying a valid tax disk. This offence is the responsibility of the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and you can report unlicensed vehicles on their website.

The council will not act on a report that a vehicle is 'untaxed' in this way; we will only act if the vehicle is 'abandoned'.

What is the council's policy on abandoned vehicles, and how can I report one?

The council can impound vehicles that are left (abandoned) on the highway. In applying these powers the council's officers always try to act reasonably.

If you believe that a car has been abandoned, the location, make, colour and registration should be reported to the council using this online form.

Following an inspection the council may impound the vehicle immediately, attach a notice giving the owner 24 hours to remove the vehicle or write to the last registered keeper giving them 7 days (depending on the location and the vehicle's condition) to claim or remove it. Otherwise it may be impounded and disposed of.  Vehicles deemed to be abandoned on private land are subject to a 15 day notice prior to removal.

Statistics show that all vehicles that are parked on the highway for long periods are likely to suffer from vandalism. Caravans are often the subject of arson attacks and can present a serious hazard if they contain gas cylinders.

Burnt-out vehicles will be removed either by the council or the police to an authorised storage facility to await collection by the owner or their insurance company, or to be scrapped if not claimed.  There are statutory fees payable in respect of impounded vehicles, which are currently:

  • £150 impound fee
  • £15 per day for storage

Vehicles not claimed at the end of a notice period will be seized, 'depolluted' and scrapped, with no right of appeal by an alleged owner who subsequently tries to reclaim the vehicle.

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

Boats should be stored at a local sailing club.

I think that there should be parking restrictions on my road - who should I contact?

Legal Orders ('Traffic Regulation Orders') which create yellow lines are made by the council, if you think there is a need for parking restrictions in your road then contact the Traffic Team on (023) 9244 6013 who will discuss your idea with you.