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Abandoned vehicles

Here you can find out how to report or reclaim an abandoned vehicle and guidance on untaxed and unwanted vehicles.

Abandoned vehicles are an eyesore and can encourage vandalism and arson, endangering lives, property and the environment.

We have a duty to remove them from the highway and other public areas.

How do I tell if a vehicle has been abandoned?

We can only deal with abandoned vehicles. A vehicle may be abandoned if:

  • It has been parked in the same position for some time.
  • There is no apparent owner.
  • It is in poor condition (broken windows, flat tyres and damaged panels).
  • It is unlocked.

If the vehicle meets one or more of the above, it should be reported for us to investigate.

Report a vehicle

Report abandoned vehicle

When you tell us about the vehicle, please give as much detail as possible:

  • Its location (be as accurate as possible).
  • How long it has been left there.
  • Its make, model and colour.
  • Its registration number.
  • Its condition (like if it is burnt out, has broken windows or flat tyres).

We will visit a reported vehicle, inspect it and put 'Council aware' tape on it. We will also take photos and provide a report on the vehicle.

  • The registered keeper will be sought out and a letter sent requesting the vehicle to be removed within 7 days.
  • If not removed, the vehicle will be put in storage.
  • A notice will be sent to the registered keeper giving 7 days to reclaim from storage. If not claimed, the vehicle will be disposed of.
  • We will remove vehicles from any public highway/place.

Reclaim an abandoned vehicle

  • If you have notice that we removed your vehicle, phone: 01422 288002, as soon as possible.
  • You must produce the registration document V5 (log book). This shows us that you are the registered keeper.
  • You must also pay the removal and storage fees.

Penalties for abandoning a vehicle

  • It is a criminal offence to abandon a vehicle.
  • We can prosecute the last registered keeper for this offence.
  • The penalty, on conviction, is a fine up to £2500. In stead of prosecuting, we can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Untaxed vehicles

To report a vehicle that is used or kept on the public road and appears to be unlicensed:

If a vehicle is kept off-road, it must be taxed or have a current Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

For more details, visit: Vehicle tax, MOT and insurance (GOV.UK).

Unwanted vehicles

Do you own a vehicle that you no longer want and would like to dispose of it?

You will need to contact an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), who will recycle it for you.

For a list of ATFs in the local area, visit: Environment Agency - authorised treatment facilities register (GOV.UK).

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