Wiltshire Council say they are taking a tougher approach with the owners of cars that are abandoned on the highway.
The initiative came as a Tidworth woman was issued with a £200 fixed penalty notice for abandoning her Honda CRV on the public highway in Tidworth.
The vehicle had no tax, no MOT and the owner failed to comply with the removal notice issued on the vehicle by Environmental Enforcement Officers.
This is the eleventh £200 fixed penalty notice (FPN) issued by Wiltshire Council to people who have abandoned their vehicles. Six of these notices were issued and paid in the last month as the council takes tougher action against those who dump vehicles in Wiltshire.
Fixed penalty notices have recently been issued to owners of four dumped vehicles in Salisbury and one in Tidworth.
Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Waste said: ‘Abandoned vehicles are not only an environmental hazard, but they are expensive to remove, look unsightly and take up valuable parking spaces. In addition to the environmental problems outlined previously, when a vehicle is dumped, the council must divert critical resources from other services areas to deal with them.
‘We will investigate reports of abandoned vehicles and take formal legal action against the owners who dump their vehicles and consider it acceptable for taxpayers to foot the bill for responsible removal and disposal.’
The council says anyone issued with FPNs have 14 days to make payment or the council will prosecute for the original offence. Wiltshire Council has also successfully prosecuted two people for non-payment of fixed penalty notices.
A Great Bedwyn resident had a £2,018.26 bill after failing to pay a £200 fixed penalty notice for abandoning their vehicle following a prosecution by Wiltshire Council at Salisbury Magistrates. A resident from Ramsbury also paid a heavy price for ignoring an abandoned notice and a subsequent FPN, which cost the owner £1,692 in court fines and costs.
What is an abandoned vehicle?
There is no legal definition of an ‘abandoned vehicle’. Council officers must decide in each case whether a vehicle is abandoned. However, the following characteristics are generally common to abandoned vehicles and one or a combination of the following will be taken into account when deciding whether a vehicle is abandoned:
Untaxed, with no current vehicle keeper on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA)record
No valid MOT
Stationary for a significant amount of time
Significantly damaged, run down or unroadworthy
Presence of mould on either the inside or outside of the vehicle
This is not an exhaustive list and a vehicle would not have to be displaying the full list to be considered abandoned. This includes motor vehicles, trailers and caravans.
Is abandoning a vehicle a criminal offence?
Yes – Section 2 of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 makes it a criminal offence to abandon a vehicle. A person found guilty of such an offence may be punished on summary conviction with a fine up to £2,500 or a term not exceeding three months’ imprisonment or both. The council can also issue fixed penalty notices of £200 as an alternative to prosecution.
How do I report an abandoned vehicle?
Residents can report abandoned vehicles using Wiltshire Council’s online reporting tool ‘My Wiltshire’ or by calling 0300 456 0100.
Abandoned vehicles in Dorset
To report an abandoned vehicle in Dorset visit: https://dorset-self.achieveservice.com/service/Abandoned_Vehicles