- Parking, roads and pavements
If you suspect a vehicle is abandoned
Before you report a vehicle as abandoned, check what the likely indicators are first. Then determine if you still wish to submit a report.
Abandoned vehicles: likely indicators
- Stationary for long period of time. In excess of 4 weeks
- Missing number plates
- Two or more flat tyres
- Broken windscreen, windows, mirrors
- Presence of litter, weeds under the vehicle indicating that it has not been moved for a considerable period of time
- Accumulation of litter and debris inside vehicle
- General poor state of repair and subject to ongoing acts of vandalism
- Vehicles subject to fire damage/burnt-out vehicles
- Untaxed or no MOT
Report an abandoned vehicle
When you report an abandoned vehicle, you'll be asked about the details of the suspected abandoned vehicle:
- registration number
- current condition
- the length of time it's been stationary at the location
If you can confirm the above, please telephone our Abandoned Vehicles team on 0203 375 4242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens afterwards
- If the initial reporting indicates there's a need for further action, a member of the team will undertake a site visit within 48 working hours.
- They'll assess the vehicle in order to determine whether it meets the criteria of abandonment.
- The decision on whether to classify a vehicle as being abandoned rests with the council.
- If the vehicle doesn't meet the criteria of abandonment, no further action will be taken.
- However, if we have reason to believe that a vehicle has been abandoned, we'll affix either a 7-day or 24-hour notice onto the vehicle in the first instance.
- Following this, arrangements will be made internally in regards to what further action might be appropriate.
- For data protection reasons, we can't disclose details of the owner/registered keepers of a particular vehicle. We'll also not disclose details of the individual who submitted the report.
Is abandoning a vehicle a criminal offence?
Yes. You could face a fine of up to £2,500 and/or 3 month's imprisonment. See section 2(1) of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978.
Will the council investigate all reports of suspected abandoned vehicles?
No. An officer acting on behalf of the council will assess the reporting in order to determine whether to request a site visit.
If we don't believe a vehicle meets the criteria of abandonment, we'll explain the reasons for reaching that conclusion. For example, a vehicle left in a stationary position for a period of time doesn't usually mean it's been abandoned.
Motorists do have a right to leave a legally parked vehicle on the public highway for as long as they deem necessary (subject to adherence to parking controls, tax and insurance etc).
The council won't intervene in residential disputes in regards to vehicles situated outside your property or if you simply do not appreciate the presence of a particular vehicle in the street where you live.
Police and abandoned vehicles
Police can remove any vehicle that is in breach of local traffic regulation orders, or is causing an obstruction on the public highway, under the Removal and Disposal of Vehicles Regulations 1986. They will usually carry out their own investigation in order to establish whether the vehicle is the subject of a prior reporting activity.
Voluntary surrender of your vehicle
We'll consider a request to remove and dispose of your vehicle. There's usually a charge for this service. However, the vehicle needs to be situated in a location where it can be easily accessed by a removal lorry. If we accept your request, the vehicle would be removed and disposed of at an approved treatment facility. If you have any further queries in regards to this, please email: email@example.com.
I'm not satisfied with the council’s handling of my vehicle
You can contact the council directly to register any dissatisfaction regarding our abandoned vehicle activities through the council’s corporate complaints process online or submit a general enquiry to the parking team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before reporting an untaxed vehicle to us, we ask you first check the tax status of the vehicle you are reporting.
On 1 October 2014, the vehicle tax disc was abolished. After this date vehicles won't need to display a tax disc.
In accordance with DVLA rules, we can only enforce an untaxed vehicle if the tax has expired by more than two months and one day. Untaxed vehicles can be reported directly to the council on 020 3375 4242.
Following the enforcement activity, the DVLA will be notified. They may also write to the owner/registered keeper to confirm the deadline by which the vehicle must be collected. If the owner/registered keeper does not comply, the vehicle may be disposed of.
Since 2004 the council has operated devolved powers from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority to remove untaxed vehicles in accordance with the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 and related regulations. Councils also have powers to remove or seize vehicles under a range of legislation including:
- Section 38 (4) London Local Authorities Act 1990
- Highways Act 1980 Sections 143 and 149
Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978
The London Borough of Barnet has a duty under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 and associated legislation to remove abandoned vehicles from the highway, private land, or any land ‘in the open air’(subject to certain exceptions). The legislation sets out the system for the storage and disposal of abandoned vehicles and empowers the Authority to recover costs from those responsible for the abandonment of the vehicle. Vehicles may be disposed of by destruction at an approved treatment facility or sale at a public auction.
In accordance with regulation 3 of the 1978 Act, a 7-day notice will be affixed to a vehicle that is deemed to have been abandoned without lawful authority on the public highway. This notice period is applicable for vehicles with a value in excess of £500 which also do not pose an immediate risk to the health and safety of road users. Vehicles deemed to have a value of little or no commercial value and/or in a poor state of repair will be subject to a maximum 24-hour notification period. Vehicles removed under this category will be subject to destruction at an approved treatment facility.