into force yesterday have been welcomed by local government secretary Stephen Byers and environment minister Michael Meacher.
The measures for local authorities include:
- Powers to remove vehicles abandoned on the street anywhere in
England after 24 hours instead of the present seven days
- Increased opportunities to work with DVLA to remove unlicensed
- Powers to dispose more quickly of unlicensed vehicles removed
under DVLA powers, after 7 days rather than 35
- Easier tracing and clarification of vehicle ownership through
additional funding from the 'Invest to Save' programme
Mr Byers said:
'Abandoned cars blight neighbourhoods, can be hazardous,
especially to children, and are arson cases waiting to happen.
They can also make the lives of local residents a misery.
'That is why we are taking these immediate steps to address the
problem. This is an important part of our safer streets agenda.
Local councils will, now have the power to remove many
abandoned cars after 24 hours, rather than seven days as
'We are also encouraging local councils to work in partnership
with the DVLA and other authorities, making real inroads into the
bureaucratic barriers that have frustrated action in the past.
'Specifically, tracing vehicle owners will now be easier as a result
of a successful Invest to Save Bid, which has resulted in an
investment of£2.7m to make available computer links
between the DVLA and local councils.
'This initiative demonstrates our firm commitment to improving the
public space - making a real difference in people's lives and the
places in which they live and work.
'The government intends to introduce reforms to the vehicle
registration system to ensure that, in future, all vehicles can be
traced to the correct keeper. The principles of this were widely
supported in the consultation exercise. We will discuss the details
with interested parties, particularly motorists and businesses.'
Mr Meacher said:
'We are determined to put an end to the abominable eyesore on
roads and also in the countryside of thousands of abandoned
vehicles which are sometimes not removed for months. They
diminish the quality of peoples' local environment and can act as
a magnet for more serious anti-social behaviour.
'The new regulations tackle the problem head-on giving councils
the right to remove vehicles including cars, vans, lorries and
motorbikes left abandoned anywhere in England after 24 hours.
'I fully support the measures outlined by Stephen Byers to
improve the accuracy of the vehicle register and to make owners
take full responsibility for their vehicles.
'It is simply not right that an irresponsible minority of motorists
should attempt to evade their responsibilities for registering,
insuring and maintaining their vehicles.'
The government launched a consultation in October 2001 on measures
to deal with the problem of abandoned cars. The paper attracted over
350 responses, generally supporting the proposals. The main proposals
- Reducing the notice periods after which it is possible for
local authorities to remove abandoned vehicles, from 7 days to 24
hours in the case of vehicles with no value, the category into
which the majority of abandoned vehicles fall. This will enable
local authorities to get rid of vehicles more quickly, reducing the
risk that they will be vandalised once a notice has been attached
to them, or that vehicles will simply be moved and parked somewhere
- Reducing the notice periods after which unlicensed vehicles can
be destroyed once they have been removed, from 35 to 7 days for
vehicles without value;
- Giving local authorities new powers to act against unlicensed
vehicles, building on a pilot scheme currently under way in Newham;
- Improving access by local authorities to the DVLA vehicle
record, ensuring that they can obtain details of the registered
keeper more quickly and easily.
- Developing proposals for changing the vehicle registration
system to ensure that all vehicles can be associated with a
registered keeper who has clear responsibility for meeting costs
and complying with responsibilities associated with the vehicle,
until DVLA has been properly notified of a change of keepership.
- Invest to Save Budget is a Treasury/Cabinet Office led
competition involving£380m over the period to 2003/2004 designed
to develop projects which bring together two or more public bodies
to deliver services that are more innovative, more joined up, more
responsive and more efficient.
- The prime minister noted in his speech on Liveability (Croydon,
April 2001) that abandoned cars are one of the ways that local
public space is debased. The government set up a cross cutting
review on improving the public space as part of the SR2002 process.
The Review has undertaken a wide ranging study of all public
services, programmes and policies which impact on the quality of
streets and local public spaces. It is also looking at how
government policy can contribute to making everybody's local
environment clean, safe and pleasant to walk through. Tackling
abandoned vehicles is an important part of this.