Information about abandoned vehicles, reporting or reclaiming them and disposing of unwanted vehicles.
What is an abandoned vehicle?
An abandoned vehicle is one that has not moved from its location for a period determined by legislation under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978. After this period the council will inspect and use a number of factors to establish if it has been abandoned.
If in the council's opinion the vehicle is dangerous (for example, if it has been burnt out) then the vehicle can be removed immediately. If a car is thought to be abandoned, the council's Community and Environment Officers can take steps to identify and prosecute the legal owner.
To be truly abandoned, vehicles must meet a number of criteria as set out by the council with regard to:
If, given the above criteria, a vehicle is thought to be abandoned, an officer will service notice by attaching a sticker to the side window of the vehicle. This will give the owner/keeper either 24 hours (an orange notice) or 7 days (a white notice), depending on the value of the vehicle, to claim it before the council can authorise its removal and destruction.
The council has a duty under the provisions of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 (RDA) to remove abandoned vehicles. This concerns people abandoning without authority, a vehicle or parts of a vehicle, on any other land forming part of the highway, for such a period that it may reasonably be assumed to have been abandoned, OR brought to that land for the purpose of abandonment.
If a vehicle is deemed abandoned by officers, the council can prosecute, even if the car is subsequently claimed. Officers are also entitled to recover costs incurred in dealing with or removing vehicles. The RDA Act is supplemented by the Clean Neighbourhood Environment Act (CNEA) 2005 (s10-14). Section 10 permits officers to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for the offence of abandoning vehicles under the definitions given in the RDA Act. The CNEA generally makes the process for dealing with abandoned vehicles less complicated allowing swifter action.
Reporting an abandoned vehicle
If you would like to report an abandoned vehicle, please use our online report form or contact us. Please be aware that if you report an abandoned vehicle, you may be requested to provide a witness statement. This would be in support of your observation that the vehicle had been abandoned for the period you state, should an owner come forward to claim it. If the vehicle is worth more than £1000, the process to remove the vehicle will take approximately two weeks.
Only fit for destruction
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council defines a vehicle with a trade value of less than £1000 to be only fit for destruction. The vast majority of vehicles reported to the council fit this category. When they have been categorised as abandoned and are only fit for destruction, a council officer will serve notice on the vehicle giving the owner of the vehicle 24 hours to make contact with the council to claim the vehicle. If no contact is made within this period the council's contractors will remove the vehicle.
Retrieving your vehicle
If the council's contractors have removed your vehicle it may be possible to retrieve it by contacting us.
Dangerously parked vehicles
Vehicles which are parked across driveways can be reported by the resident to the Parking Office on 01279 655261.
For all other reports of vehicles parking dangerously, for example parking on junctions which impedes visibility, these should be reported to the Police on 101.
Removal of unwanted vehicles
The council will remove and destroy unwanted vehicles for residents of the borough upon request at a cost of £50.00. Please contact us to arrange a collection, or complete our owner request form [110KB] and return to us with the correct fee.
Reporting an untaxed vehicle
If you wish to report an untaxed vehicle, please contact the DVLA via their website or by letter to the nearest DVLA Enforcement Centre.
This page was last updated on 28/03/2013