Definition of "Abandoned"
There is no legal definition of 'abandoned' - Council officers must decide in each case whether a vehicle is abandoned.
- The most important factor is the state of the Tax and MOT of the vehicle. You can check this on www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax, before reporting the vehicle as abandoned. If the vehicle has both Tax and MOT the Council cannot process it as an abandoned vehicle, except in exceptional circumstances. These circumstances include if the vehicle represents a danger to the public, such as being parked in a manner that could cause an accident. If you are unsure if a vehicle could be treated as such please email AV@winchester.gov.uk for further information.
- We 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).
- We can also deal with vehicles that are abandoned on Private land, but only with the written permission of the land owner.
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;
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) without notice.
If the vehicle is burnt out the we can remove it without notice within 24 hours, following a site visit. If the vehicle is not burnt out the City Council will serve notice on the vehicle, this notice will give the owner 72 hours to contact the Council before a DVLA check on the registered keeper is carried out. Once this check is performed the Council will write to the owner asking them to either remove the vehicle, ensure it is parked legally (meaning Taxing the vehicle or taking it for a MOT), or contact the Council to discuss what needs to be done with the vehicle. We then gives 7 calendar days for the owner to take one of the steps described above before arranging for the removal of the vehicle. To remove the vehicle the Council needs to visit the vehicle to take updated photographs and to gather any more important information regarding the vehicle (such as any damage that may have occurred since the first visit that could hinder the collection of the vehicle), once this visit has been taken out the Council will contact its contractors to remove the vehicle within 24 hours. Once the vehicle has been removed the Council will write to the registered keeper again to give them a last chance to claim the vehicle and to pay any charges incurred.
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.