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WESTMINSTER WATCH

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New measures to deal with dumped cars ...
New measures to deal with dumped cars

Transport and local government secretary Stephen Byers has unveiled

a package to crack down on the problem of the 350,000 abandoned vehicles councils have to deal with every year.

London boroughs are among the worst affected by abandoned cars, with Ealing LBC destroying 3,750 last year, at a cost of more than£250,000.

Mr Byers' proposals include removing dumped cars within 24 hours and powers to prosecute offenders.

This could include enabling councils to use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's powers to clamp and remove unlicensed vehicles.

Pilot schemes in Lewisham LBC and Newham LBC involved the council acting as DVLA contractors, removing and impounding the vehicles.

Vehicle registration procedures will

be tightened to ensure those who dump cars can be tracked down and prosecuted.

'Dumped cars are an increasing eyesore on our streets and a real danger to children who are attracted to them as playgrounds,' said Mr Byers.

'Our proposals aim to get dumped cars off the streets quickly and efficiently. The measures will give councils increased powers to deal with these cars.

'It will reduce the demands on the police and fire services which have to deal with the vandalism and arson resulting from dumped cars.'

Re-use may save old graveyards

Public consultation on the re-use of old graves is included in Home Office plans to modernise cemetery services.

The Home Office was responding to a House of Commons select committee report which criticised the government and councils for not re-using graves to preserve historic cemeteries.

The committee found that while cemeteries in Europe have been re-using graves for years, English graveyards have become overcrowded.

The government action plan includes a survey of standards in cemeteries and the creation of an advisory body to offer management guidance.

The condition of cemeteries hit the headlines after a young boy died while playing in a cemetery last year.

The Association of Burial Authorities warned earlier this year some 15 million gravestones in the UK were unstable.

£50m new street warden project

The government has announced more than 120 street warden schemes employing over 700 wardens and managers to improve the quality of life on Britain's streets.

Regeneration minister Sally Keeble unveiled the details of the£50m programme.

The role of street wardens will vary according to local needs, ranging from deterring anti-social behaviour to reducing petty crime.

Ms Keeble said: 'From Cornwall to Cumbria wardens will provide a reassuring uniformed presence on local streets.

'The 700 new street wardens announced today demonstrate that commitment.'

The street warden schemes build on the existing 85 neighbourhood warden schemes.

Councils are the lead agency in 81 of the 123 successful bids.

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