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Abandoned Vehicles

Reporting an Abandoned Vehicle to Uttlesford District Council

If you see what appears to be an abandoned vehicle on the public highway (not on council housing land) you can report the details by contacting the council on:


This information will then be passed on to our enforcement team to investigate.

Remember: you need to provide as much information as possible when reporting a suspected offence, you must give clear details. 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 a third party.

Uttlesford District Council's 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. The council also offers 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.

Uttlesford District Council has 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.

Definition of an Abandoned Vehicle

Vehicle must be untaxed and either:

  • Have no current registered keeper;
  • Be stationary for a significant amount of time;
  • Be significantly damaged, run down or in an unroadworthy condition (one or two flat tyres does not constitute unroadworthy);
  • Be burned out;
  • Be lacking one or more of its number plates; or
  • Contain waste (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

Council Action Following Receipt of a Referral

Once the council has been notified that a vehicle appears to be abandoned the information or referral will be passed to the enforcement team. An officer will review the information and make a judgement call as to the validity of the allegation of abandonment of the motor vehicle.

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

Abandoned Vehicles on Council-Owned Land

Uttlesford District Council does not allow either abandoned vehicles or untaxed vehicles on its land. The enforcement team will treat any such vehicles as being abandoned and will subsequently have them removed and therefore all charges (as explained above) will be the responsibility of the last known registered keeper.

Abandoned Vehicles on Privately Owned Land

If a vehicle is apparently abandoned on private land, or a privately owned car park, then this is the responsibility of the landowner or managing agent and can only be removed on their instruction.

The landowner or agent will contact the enforcement team, who will carry out searches to identify the current keeper (as explained above), then issue the landowner or agent a 15-day notice. The landowner or agent may then request immediate removal of the vehicle. This will automatically cancel the 15-day notice and the vehicle will be removed.

Dept. tel: 01799 510395; 510326; 510545
Dept. fax: 01799 513106
Dept. email: