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ABANDONED VEHICLE NUMBERS SOAR - AND LOOK SET TO KEEP ON RISING

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The number of abandoned vehicles has soared by almost a third in England and ...
The number of abandoned vehicles has soared by almost a third in England and

Wales in just three years - and is set to rise even further, local

government leaders warn today.

New research from the Local Government Association shows a 28 per cent

rise in illegally dumped cars from 2000-01 to 2002-03. This is equivalent to

an average rise of 22 per cent for each council.

Urban communities are the worst hit - London boroughs had the highest

average number of abandoned vehicles reported with 6,589 per authority.

District councils got off the lightest with an average of 1,060 reported

vehicles each. In the same period, the cost to councils of dealing with

abandoned vehicles rose by a quarter - from£27.2m in 2000-01 to

£33.9m in 2002-03.

And the LGA predicts the problem will get worse due to increased treatment

and disposal costs brought about by the EU directive on End of Life

Vehicles.

As most clapped-out vehicles abandoned on estates, car parks, roads and

verges are unlicensed, it is hugely difficult for councils to track down

perpetrators and take them to court under current laws. Up to now a special

piece of legislation that applies only to London has allowed boroughs in the

capital a way of tackling the problem. The LGA is currently working with the

government to ensure that all local authorities are able to stamp down on

this problem.

Ken Manton, chair of the LGA's waste and environmental management

executive, said: 'The pest of abandoned vehicles in our local communities is

threatening to become a plague.

'Illegally dumped cars are much more than just an eyesore. They are breeding

grounds for arson and vandalism, while broken glass and leaking chemicals

are a hazard for children and pets. They also contribute to a run-down

appearance that can increase crime and the fear of crime.

'Local authorities are co-operating with the police and the Driver and

Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to tackle the problem as swiftly and

efficiently as they can.

'In addition there is a danger that the EU directive on End of Life

Vehicles, which will lead to rising disposal costs for unwanted vehicles,

will further increase the challenge for local authorities. Councils could

find themselves battling to stay ahead of a wave of abandoned old bangers

littering our estates and neighbourhoods.

'Clearly this is a significant additional budget pressure that will have to

be accounted for in government funding allocation if its impact is not to be

passed on to council taxpayers.

'The vast majority of abandoned cars are unlicensed - which makes it

virtually impossible for local authorities to track down and prosecute

people who dump their clapped-out cars.

'At the moment a special piece of legislation that applies only to London

has allowed boroughs in the capital a way of tackling the problem. The LGA

is working with the government to ensure that all local authorities are able

to stamp out this scourge.'

NOTES

1. Research report 'Abandoned vehicles - a survey of local authorities' is

available on the association's website.

2. The LGA believes prosecution rates could be boosted by making it possible

to prosecute the last registered owner for abandonment or for failing to

properly transfer the vehicle to a new owner.

3. 'Abandoned vehicles - a survey of local authorities' was carried out by

the LGA research team. The first questionnaires were sent to local authority

chief executives in October 2003. By the end of the fieldwork 254 local

authorities had responded to the survey - a response rate of 62 per cent.

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