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Abandoned vehicles

Abandoned vehicles

An abandoned vehicle is a vehicle which appears to have no owner.  It is not simply a vehicle that is either untaxed or dangerously parked on the public highway.

What we can deal with

  • Investigate all abandoned vehicle reports
  • Remove vehicles that we consider to be abandoned.  Section 3 of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 places duty on a Local Authority to remove vehicles which are apparently abandoned on highways, and some other land to which the public have access, subject to giving notice of removal. 

What we can't deal with

  • Untaxed motor vehicles unless there are other reasons for the vehicle being abandoned (general condition, position, absence of contents etc)
  • Untaxed vehicles which are not abandoned - these are a matter for the DVLA and need to be reported to them at Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency.
  • Taxed Vehicles - To find out how to check whether a vehicle is taxed, please go to GOV.UK website.
  • Cars "trespassing" on private property. Vehicles that are abandoned elsewhere (in car parks, by garages, on private land) are the responsibility of the relevant land owners.
  • Vehicles parked outside a house and a householder disapproves. It is not an offence.

Reporting an abandoned vehicle

Please check the criteria above and if you believe the vehicle is classified as abandoned please report it to us:

What action will the Council take?

On receiving a report of an abandoned vehicle, an inspection and investigation will be undertaken.  Once the Council Officer is satisfied that the vehicle has been abandoned, a removal notice will be affixed to the vehicle.

Vehicles abandoned on the highway will usually be issued with a seven day or a 24 hour notice of removal. 

Once the vehicle is removed by the Council’s contractor it will be stored for up to 21 days and then disposed of.

Frequently Asked Questions

A notice has been displayed on a vehicle.  Why has it not been removed?

The notice is part of the procedure to establish whether or not a vehicle is abandoned.  Enquiries may have identified an owner, in which case the vehicle is no longer considered abandoned.

A car has a ‘police aware’ sticker on it, but it has been there for a long time.  Why has it not been removed?

The police may still have an interest in the vehicle.  Should they consider it to be abandoned, they will refer the matter to the Council where appropriate.

Is it against the law to abandon a vehicle?

Under the terms of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978, it is an offence to abandon a vehicle and can result in a fine of up to £2,500 or three months imprisonment or both if convicted plus the costs of the removal, disposal and any storage of the vehicle.