Abandoned Vehicles

Please read the information below,  you can report an abandoned vehicle to the Council using our on-line reporting service

Definition of "Abandoned"
There is no legal definition of 'abandoned' - Council officers must decide in each case whether a vehicle is abandoned. However, the following characteristics are generally common to abandoned vehicles and one or a combination of the following will be taken into account when deciding whether a vehicle is abandoned:-

  • Untaxed, with no current vehicle keeper on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's (DVLA) record;
  • Stationary for a significant amount of time.
  • Significantly damaged, run down or un-roadworthy.
  • Burnt out

The Council can deal with vehicles which are abandoned:-

  • on "roads" (i.e. a highway or road to which the public has access;this will include adopted highways, footpaths)

The term "abandoned vehicle" includes:-

  • mechanically propelled vehicles intended or adapted for use on roads, whether or not it is in a fit state for such use;
  • any trailer intended or adapted for use as an attachment to such a vehicle;
  • any chassis or body with or without wheels, appearing to have formed part of such a vehicle or trailer (e.g. vehicles with flat tyres, wheels removed or broken windows);
  • anything attached to such a vehicle or trailer;
  • caravans.


The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 came into force in October 2005. The Act amends the legislation on abandoned vehicles (Refuse Disposal and Amenity Act 1978 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984). The legislation gives the City Council the power to remove certain abandoned vehicles (such as Burnt Out or Untaxed ) without notice.


If the vehicle meets with the above criteria, following a site visit, the City Council can remove it without notice within 24 hours. If the vehicle is untaxed but in a reasonable condition it can be removed and stored for seven days. The City Council will write to the keeper advising them that the vehicle has been removed, and explaining how it may be reclaimed as well as the cost incurred for removal and storage. If the vehicle is not reclaimed within seven days, it will be destroyed without further notice.

The Council has no power of removal in respect of taxed vehicles or vehicles on private land. This is a matter for the police/DVLA, who should be informed accordingly. If the vehicle has a current SORN notice and not on the public highway the Council can not remove the vehicle.

The Council no longer fixes a notice to a vehicle before removing it. This will help to reduce the incidence of vandalism and arson that often follows the fixing of notices. These provisions will apply to vehicles on the highway or on land to which the public have access.


Anyone who is responsible for or has used a vehicle removed as an abandoned vehicle commits a criminal offence. On conviction, the penalty is a fine up to a maximum level 4 (£2,500). It is a defence for an owner to show that the vehicle was stolen and subsequently abandoned. The legislation allows for these offences to be dealt with by a fixed penalty notice, or a prosecution in the Courts.

Reporting a Vehicle as Abandoned 

Report abandoned vehicles