swiftly with abandoned vehicles, transport secretary Stephen Byers told BBC
Radio Four's Today programme this morning.
cars on its streets. Daniel Fish, from the council, said Lewisham had
removed 6,000 vehicles this year, compared with 450 in 1998. The main reason
for the increase, Mr Fish said, is the fall in the price of scrap metal, so
that people now have to pay to scrap their cars away.
Ian Fowkes, head of public protection at the Local Government Association,
told Today that, on average, local authorities had experienced a 500%
increase in abandoned vehicles in the past three years. The problem affects
rural as well as urban areas, he said, with cars and even caravans dumped in
Mr Fowkes said the European end of life vehicles directive would be coming
in soon. The LGA expects that in the short term this will result in an
increase in abandoned cars.
Mr Byers told the programme that to tackle the problem, 'in the short term
we need to provide powers to get these cars off our streets'. He proposes to
cut the period for which local authorities have to wait before disposing of
a worthless vehicle, from 35 days to 24 hours.
Local authorities would have to bear the costs of removing more vehicles,
but there would be savings for them because they would not have to keep the
cars for so long, he said.
The DTLR's proposals for giving local authorities powers to deal with abandoned cars are available here.