Including non-motorised vehicles on the public highway
The council has a duty to remove abandoned vehicles – we work proactively to reduce the numbers by prompt investigation and removal if required.
It is an offence to abandon a vehicle, or part of a vehicle, on a highway or on any land in the open air – a person found guilty of this offence can face a fine of up to £2,500.
A fixed Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) can also be issued for this offence.
For further information, please see the document ‘Vehicle removal policies and procedures’ in the Documents section below.
Vehicles no longer require a tax disc. You can check a vehicle’s tax online – if untaxed you can report to the DVLA. Find more information about reporting an untaxed vehicle at gov.uk.
What is an abandoned vehicle?
The following characteristics are usually common to abandoned vehicles, and help us to decide on abandonment:
- not moved for a long period of time
- rusty brake discs
- flat tyres
- smashed windows
- burnt out or vandalised
- missing number plates
- expired road tax
Non-motorised vehicle removal
It is an offence to store non-motor vehicles and structures such as caravans, trailers and boats on the highway. We have a duty to remove these under the Highways Act 1980 and we work proactively to reduce the numbers by prompt investigation and removal if required.
We ask that owners of caravans, trailers, boats, horseboxes etc not to take up parking space by leaving them parked on the street. They take up much-needed parking space on the roads of the city. Read our report on storage of non-motorised vehicles below.
Under the Highways Act 1980 we will put a legal notice on the property, warning that if you don’t remove it within 28 days it will be taken into storage. If the property is not claimed within 14 days, it will be disposed of.
If an item is taken into storage, a fee must be paid to claim it. This starts at £60 for the removal, with storage costs added from £7.14 per day. Once claimed, the property cannot be returned to the public street.
Tips for owners of non-motor vehicles:
- if you don’t have suitable off-road parking at home, find a storage compound
- if you need to park on the street to unload or load, limit this to one day, outside your house and inform your neighbours
- make sure the caravan or trailer is stable, with hazards removed and gas bottles isolated
- it is against the law to park a caravan or trailer short-term on the street at night without warning lights – ensure reflectors face oncoming traffic
- check that your caravan or trailer is covered by insurance if parked short-term on the street
- don’t carry out repairs or maintenance on the street
- don’t allow people to live in a caravan or run cables across the street
- a caravan or trailer attached to a motor vehicle remains a ‘non-motor vehicle or structure’ – this policy is applicable
What happens next?
There are a number of stages related to abandoned vehicles, below is given a brief overview of this process:
- Report received
- Visit vehicle, checking for clues as to whether it is abandoned and photograph vehicle if appropriate
- Checks made with the DVLA, Police National Computer and any other agencies as may be relevant
- If considered abandoned after checks, a letter is sent to ascertain ownership interest – if vehicle is in poor condition and/or there is a threat of arson or vandalism then the vehicle can be impounded immediately
- After deadline set out in the letter expires – vehicle is revisited, photographed and if in situ and no owner interest then can be impounded
- Letter sent to registered owner to inform them the vehicle has been impounded
- If the vehicle is not claimed, it can be disposed of as required