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Home > Environment > Abandoned and nuisance vehicles > What are the duties of the Local Authority?

What are the duties of the Local Authority?

It is the duty of a Local Authority to remove vehicles which appear to have been abandoned subject to the provisions laid down in the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978, the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. Council Officers take the following factors into account when deciding whether a vehicle has been abandoned: 

  • The length of time the vehicle has been in its current position 
  • The overall condition, age and appearance of the vehicle 
  • The status of the vehicle in respect of Tax, MOT and SORN
  • The presence of a number plate 
  • Apparent roadworthiness 
  • Security 
  • Proximity of the vehicle to the registered address of the last registered keeper.

Vehicles which are simply untaxed are not abandoned vehicles. The DVLA has powers to take enforcement action against owners of untaxed vehicles and can be reported online.

If a vehicle is on private land, the Council must give the occupier of the land 15 days notice before they remove it – this notice is stuck to the vehicle. If the occupier of the land objects to the vehicle being removed then the Council cannot remove the vehicle. 

For highways and public land, notice periods are 7 days, or 24 hours or, in exceptional circumstances, immediately if the vehicle is in a dangerous condition. 

Removed vehicles are kept for 7 days for their owners to reclaim them before being destroyed. The registered keeper (according to the DVLA database) is charged the statutory fee for removal, storage and disposal of a vehicle. There is also a Fixed Penalty Notice fine which can be issued as an alternative to prosecution for abandoning a vehicle.