measures to crack down on the growing problem of abandoned cars. An
estimated 350,000 cars were dumped last year.
to track down and prosecute owners and offenders.
Commenting at the launch of a joint DTLR/DEFRA consultation document,
Mr Byers said:
'Dumped cars are an increasing eyesore on our streets and a real
danger to children who are attracted to them as playgrounds. Too
often they are also a target for local arsonists. Our proposals
published today aim to get dumped cars off the streets quickly and
'The measures will give local councils increased powers to deal with
these cars and get rid of the bureaucratic boundaries that make it
easier for people to get away with it. It will also reduce the
demands on the police and fire services who have to deal with the
vandalism and arson resulting from dumped cars.
'This is all about making our neighbourhoods better places to live.'
Welcoming the joint publication, environment minister Michael Meacher
'The recent rapid increase in abandoned cars, due to the sharp fall
in scrap metal prices, is now emerging as one of the biggest menaces
facing our towns and cities. They are not only an eyesore, but can
become a potential firebomb. With these tough new measures we are
determined to stamp out the problem.'
London boroughs are among the worst affected by abandoned cars.
Ealing destroyed 3,750 cars last year, costing the authority more
The proposals set out in the consultation include:
- Reducing the notice periods before cars can be removed, from seven
days to 24 hours in the cases of vehicles with no value - the
overwhelming majority of dumped cars. This will reduce the risk of
cars simply being moved and parked elsewhere and reduce the danger of
vandalism once a notice has been attached;
- Enabling local authorities to use the DVLA's powers to clamp and
remove unlicensed vehicles. Pilot schemes in Lewisham LBC and Newham
LBC involved the local authority acting as DVLA contractors, removing
and impounding unlicensed vehicles;
- Promoting best practice for the agencies dealing with abandoned
and unlicensed cars;
- Tightening vehicle registration procedures to ensure that those
who dump cars can be tracked down and prosecuted.
John Denham, home office minister for crime reduction, policing and
community safety, also welcomed the announcement. He said:
'Abandoned vehicles pollute and blight the environment, present
safety hazards, and become targets for vandalism and crime.
Determined action against abandoned vehicles has obvious road, social
and environmental benefits but it will also help us to target wider
criminal activity. By removing them we reduce the fear of crime,
remove opportunities for crime and restore people's pride in their
'I welcome the proposals set out in the consultation document as
sensible measures to effect real improvement.'
The consultation on measures to deal with abandoned cars runs until
31 January 2002.
More than 350,000 cars are estimated to have been dumped in the UK
during 2000, and the number of vehicles being abandoned has increased
sharply in recent years.
In summary, the measures on which the Government is seeking views
- 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 - into which category the majority
of abandoned vehicles are likely to fall and from 21 days to a period
between 7 and 14 days for vehicles of value. 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 else.
- Reducing the notice periods after which unlicensed vehicles can be
destroyed once they have been removed, from 35 to 14 days for
vehicles of value and 35 to 7 days for vehicles without value;
- Empowering local authorities to use Vehicle Excise and
Registration Act powers against unlicensed vehicles, building on the
pilot schemes currently under way in Lewisham LBC and Newham LBC;
- Improving access by local authorities to the DVLA vehicle record,
ensuring that they can obtain details on whether or not vehicles are
licensed and on the identity of the registered keeper more quickly
and easily, using a web-based portal and hand-held devices through
which local authority staff can access vehicle record data;
- Promoting and disseminating information on best practice.
- A system of continuous registration which would reinforce the
current requirement that a vehicle keeper must either pay Vehicle
Excise Duty (Road Tax) to keep a vehicle on the public road or make a
SORN declaration, by ensuring that the fiscal responsibility remained
with the registered keeper until DVLA had been formally notified of a
- The possibility of a more rigorous regime for registering the
transfer of vehicles, to ensure that records of keepers are kept up
to date, allowing more rigorous enforcement.