If you see an abandoned vehicle on a public road, you can report it.
Reporting an abandoned vehicle
If you see what appears to be an abandoned vehicle on the public highway (not on council housing land) you can report the details to us.
Or you can contact us directly.
This information will then be passed on to our enforcement team to investigate.
You will need to provide us with as much information as possible when you report an abandoned vehicle. It would also be helpful to supply your personal details so that an officer may contact you. In accordance with the Data Protection Act your personal details will be kept private and not disclosed to any third party.
Check if a vehicle has a MOT or tax
You can check the MOT status of a vehicle on GOV.UK. You can also use this service to check if a vehicle is taxed.
You'll need the vehicle's registration number (number plate).
What we can do
Our enforcement team deals with all cases of abandoned or untaxed vehicles. There are however some restriction with regards to areas of land from which a vehicle may be removed.
We also offer a free collection service for the disposal of vehicles, so abandoning vehicles in our district is not only bad for the environment and illegal, but also unnecessary.
We have the power to investigate reported abandoned vehicles, and if no-one claims responsibility for the vehicle in the given statutory length of time, the council will instruct the recovery agent to remove the vehicle for disposal.
The DVLA database holds the details of all registered keepers of motor vehicles and as such it is the responsibility of the registered keeper to notify the DVLA of any changes in circumstances.
How to tell if a vehicle has been abandoned
The Department of the Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has no legal definition of 'abandonment'. Generally we would consider a vehicle as having been abandoned if it is untaxed and either:
- has no current registered keeper
- has not been moved for a significant amount of time
- is significantly damaged, run down or in an unroadworthy condition (one or two flat tyres does not constitute unroadworthy)
- is burned out
- is lacking one or more of its number plates
- is full of rubbish (small amount of general rubbish, tin cans, a few papers etc does not constitute waste)
Abandonment of a vehicle is a criminal offence resulting in a criminal conviction and a court fine not exceeding £2,500.
Fines are issued to the registered keeper for the abandonment of a vehicle (currently £200 per vehicle), plus all charges incurred can and will be recovered from the registered keeper. Failure to pay these charges and fines will leave the registered keeper open to prosecution, which could involve:
- £200 Fixed Penalty for abandoning a vehicle
- destruction of the motor vehicle
- failure to pay the Fixed Penalty will result in legal action being taken - this may lead to prosecution
What we will do
Once we have been told that a vehicle appears to be abandoned the information or 'referral' will be passed to our enforcement team. An officer will review the information and decide whether the vehicle has been abandoned or not.
If in their opinion the vehicle is deemed to be abandoned, the enforcement team will:
- carry out an online DVLA check for current keeper details (if held)
- visit the site within three working days
- place a removal notice on the vehicle (if appropriate)
- write to the registered keeper, requesting removal of the vehicle within seven days
- contact the landowner (if on private land) issuing a 15-day removal notice; subsequently the vehicle may then be removed. If the landowner so instructs, the vehicle may be removed immediately
- if the DVLA do not hold any current keeper details and the landowner instructs then the vehicle will be removed immediately and subsequently destroyed
- issue Fixed Penalty Notice
- instruct legal proceedings