An abandoned vehicle is one where the circumstances indicate that the owner has no further interest in it.
Every case is different. The following indicators are examples of what we use to help us decide whether a vehicle has potentially been abandoned:
- out of tax
- no obvious owner
- remained in the same place for 28 days
- flat tyre(s)
- contains waste
- burnt out
A vehicle does not have to meet any or all the above criteria for it to be considered as being abandoned. It is at the discretion of the investigating council officer who will assess the information in reaching a decision.
We have a duty to remove a vehicle that has been abandoned on any council owned land or on any road to which the public have access. We can also charge for its removal, storage and disposal.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 has removed the need to place a notice on the vehicle, so an abandoned vehicle can now be taken straight to scrap without notifying the owner.
Reporting and checking untaxed vehicles
Untaxed vehicles should be reported to the DVLA online using the DVLA's online form.
You can check whether a vehicle is taxed by visiting the GOV.UK - vehicle enquiry website and entering the registration and make of the vehicle.
Vehicles with valid SORN declarations
A vehicle only needs to be registered for a SORN declaration once (this is no longer renewed annually). Vehicles with a SORN declaration still need to be kept on private property with permission, and not on council land or the highway (including roads).
Vehicles causing an obstruction
If the vehicle is causing an obstruction, report it to Thames Valley Police online or by calling 101.
How to dispose of a vehicle
If you wish to dispose of a vehicle yourself, you must take it to an authorised treatment facility. Here it will have pollutants such as fuel and engine oil removed, before being sent for destruction. For a list of these facilities visit GOV.UK - scrap cars and written-off vehicles.
If you arrange for your vehicle to be taken away by a scrap metal dealer, you have a duty of care to make sure that they have a valid licence and that you are given a receipt. You can search for details of licensed scrap metal dealers on the Environment Agency's website.