'We should be tackling this growing cause of urban blight. Abandoned cars cause a real nuisance and are a potential danger, damaging the whole community's quality of life.
'We urge the government to spell out what steps it will take to prevent perverse outcomes emerging from these new environmental regulations.'
* see LGCnetfor full details of today's announcement.
Meanwhile, Greater London Assembly Conservatives accused the government of not going far enough to tackle the problem of abandoned cars. Roger Evans, Conservative environment spokesman commented after the government announced new action to combat this increasing problem. Mr Evans wants councils to be able to keep revenue from fines against people who have illegally dumped their car and thus help to ensure that London's streets are not overrun by this increasing problem. 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, Stephen Byer's package of measures does not go far enough.
'It seems that Mr Byers is failing to do the one thing that will really make a difference - giving councils the legal means to keep revenue from enforcing fines for abandoned cars. 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. Under this Act, councils have a duty to remove any abandoned vehicle.
'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 manner - thus protecting the interests of local residents and removing the financial disincentives of them doing so.
'I am also concerned that new European Union directives on recycling vehicles will dramatically increase the cost of scrapping cars, and as a result we will see more abandoned vehicles on our streets. I urge the government to make clear what it is doing to ensure that the regulations will not have such an affect.'
A survey completed in the early summer by the RAC found, for example, in Islington alone, 150-200 cars are abandoned every month. Amendments to Data Protection legislation to make it easier for local authorities to identify the owners of abandoned cars would have to be made. Car owners who have reported their car stolen or who can prove that they no longer own a car (eg possess a receipt for a sale) should not be liable to fines. In addition, councils will be encouraged to operate collection schemes for old cars for free or for a nominal charge. For example, Conservative-controlled Ashford BC already operates a free scheme to collect the old cars of local residents.