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Abandoned vehicles

Abandoned vehicles

Abandoned vehicles can be an eyesore, they take up valuable parking spaces, and can become dangerous if vandalised or filled with hazardous waste.

Enforcement officers look out for such vehicles and aim to remove them from the streets as soon as we can. We may also write to the registered keeper of the vehicle.

If you see a vehicle that you feel may be abandoned, please report it here or contact on 01246 345 345.

What determines whether a vehicle might be abandoned?

  • the vehicle has not moved for a long period of time
  • the tax has expired for several months
  • the vehicle is a danger to people because the windows are broken, the doors are open, there are jagged edges protruding from the vehicle, the wheels are missing, etc.

If you have recently had a legal notice attached to your vehicle and wish to inform us that the vehicle is not abandoned or is no longer yours, you must take action immediately.

The council is permitted to obtain details of registered keepers from DVLA for this purpose. It is a legal requirement that you inform DVLA of changes to the registered keeper, as you are liable for any costs associated with storage and disposal of the vehicle.

Contact us before the expiry of the notice or the date specified in the letter and explain why it is not abandoned. Remember, any vehicle parked on the highway must be taxed and insured even if it is not being driven for a while.

Contact us and confirm in writing that you are no longer the keeper of the vehicle and tell us who is.

The public highway is not really meant for parking of vehicles as it restricts the free flow of traffic. A vehicle left for periods of time may attract criminal activity such as theft, criminal damage or arson. You are, therefore, encouraged to find secure off-street parking or a garage for such vehicles. It is an offence under section 2(1) of the Refuse Disposal Amenity Act 1978 to abandon a vehicle. The maximum penalty for abandoning a vehicle is a fine of £200.

The police may also take action for any vehicle causing an obstruction or a danger to other road users. This includes pedestrians.

The council can investigate cars abandoned on private land as well, but we must give the landowner at least 15 days’ notice of our intention to remove the vehicle. Once we have their consent we can deal with the vehicle as though it was on the public highway or other council land.

Untaxed vehicles

If you wish to report an untaxed vehicle please call the DVLA on 08000 325 202 or report it online.

Nuisance vehicles

The types of nuisance vehicles the council can deal with are limited to the following:

  • two or more vehicles offered for sale by the same person or organisation with a view to profit (ie, if you buy and sell cars that you don't actually use yourself) within 500 metres on the highway
  • vehicle repairs carried out for profit that do not relate to emergency roadside repair or breakdown. No person shall cause annoyance carrying out any repairs.

A fixed penalty of £100 may be issued for each of these offences.

If you wish to make a complaint about nuisance vehicles please call 01246 345 345 or email

As a landowner and social landlord, the council also has powers to protect its own land from trespass, criminal damage and obstruction. Action may be taken to recover the costs of damage caused by vehicles parked on housing estate land and other open areas and we will seek to remove such vehicles if they have been left without permission.

Links to related websites

The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport, and is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in England on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport.

Last updated on 30 October 2017