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GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT ON ABANDONED CARS IS 'ALL SPIN'

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GLA Conservatives today commented on the new powers announced by the government that give the councils the power to...
GLA Conservatives today commented on the new powers announced by the government that give the councils the power to remove abandoned cars within just 24 hours instead of waiting a week*. They will now get access to official driving licence files to trace the owners and charge them for the clean-up cost. The vehicles can also be destroyed after 7 days, instead of councils having to wait more than a month for owners to object. However, Roger Evans, Conservative environment spokesman, insists that the new powers will be largely ineffective. Mr Evans said:

'Abandoned cars are an eyesore, they encourage vandalism in an area and can become a fire hazard. Although I do welcome the government's belated interest in this problem, they are not providing any extra money so that the councils can actually implement these plans. It is estimated that 95,000 vehicles will be abandoned on London's streets by next year, and the government should stop trying to steal the media limelight and instead concentrating on solving this problem. There is also the problem of many of these vehicles being unregistered.

'Londoners deserve better than a government who are yet again putting spin first. Local authorities are already able to bill car owners who park their car illegally, they should also be given the opportunity to chase up those who abandon their car in a similar manner - thus protecting the interests of local residents and removing the financial disincentives of them doing so.'

Notes

Last year around 59,000 vehicles were abandoned on London's streets. The ALG estimate that by next year, this figure will have risen to 95,000. Last year the clean-up bill for the boroughs was£4m. The ALG estimates that the total bill could be around£9.5m.

A MORI poll for Direct Line has shown that London residents have to contend with dumped vehicles sitting outside their homes for twice as long as those in other parts of Britain. Fewer than 1 in 10 cars are removed within a week in the capital, compared with 1 in 5 nationwide. Nearly two thirds are left in London's roads for more than 3 weeks, compared to a third in the rest of the country.

Scrapyards are bound by strict EU regulations regarding recycling of vehicles. It currently costs councils£69 per vehicle. When the EU End of Life Directive comes in on 21 April, that cost will rise to more than£100 per car. (ES 21/03/02)

It is already an offence under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 to abandon a vehicle at any place in the open air, for which fines of up to£2,500 can be levied.

At the budget committee on 10 January, Bob Kiley informed members that the police estimate that approximately 10% of London's vehicles are unregistered.

* Read the announcement on LGCnet .

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