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Abandoned Vehicles

Abandoning a vehicle- (Refuse Disposal Amenity Act 1978 Section 2(1A) 2(A1)

We have a statutory duty to remove and dispose of motor vehicles which are abandoned without lawful authority

on any land in the open air or on any other land forming part of a highway (Refuse Disposal Amenity Act 1978)

This duty does apply to private open land, however, there is no authority to remove a vehicle from private land if the owner of the land objects.  Please note if you are reporting a vehicle that is on private land we will need written permission from the land owner before taking any action.

Abandoned vehicles are not:-

  • Badly parked vehicles or vehicles that are causing an obstruction
  • Broken down vehicles

How can you tell if a vehicle is abandoned?

The following points may indicate that a vehicle has been abandoned:

  • Is the vehicle taxed? (This should not be the sole consideration)
  • Are the tyres flat?
  • Is there any litter, weeds under the vehicle indicating that it has not been moved for some time?
  • Are the brake discs rusty?
  • Is the window screen or any of the windows broken?
  • Is mould present on either the inside or the outside of the vehicle?
  • Does the vehicle contain items of waste, for example tyres?
  • Does the vehicle have a number plate?

How do we deal with abandoned vehicles?

Following receipt of notification of an abandoned vehicle, council officers will inspect the vehicle to determine whether or not it is abandoned. Boston Borough Council will make all reasonable efforts to establish contact with the owner and give a period of 7 day's notice to remove. If no keeper details are found a seven day notice will be affixed to the vehicle or a one day notice, if the vehicle is still in situ after the 7 day notice period of if the vehicle is regarded to be a danger to the public.

After the expiry of the notice issued on the vehicle, we will uplift the vehicle to temporary storage at the contractor's yard.  If the owner of the vehicle has not been traced within the time scale of the vehicle being in storage, the vehicle will then be destroyed.

How do I report an abandoned vehicle?

If you suspect that a vehicle has been abandoned, please fill in Abandoned vehicles report form and submit this form. The following details should be reported:

  • Registration number
  • Make and model (for example, Ford Fiesta)
  • Colour
  • Exact location
  • Indication of how long it has been there.

Reporting an untaxed vehicle to the DVLA

Untaxed vehicles (that are not abandoned) can be reported to the DVLA anonymously at

It is an offence to use or keep on the public road a motor vehicle (registered in the UK) without a valid current vehicle licence (road tax).

When contacting the DVLA to report an untaxed vehicle, you will need to provide the following information:

  • The vehicle registration number
  • The colour, make and model (e.g. red Ford Focus)
  • The exact location of the vehicle

If possible, please also provide the following:

  • The time it can be seen on a public road
  • The name and address of the owner

The information provided will be used for further investigations by the DVLA.

If your vehicle is under a SORN declaration (statutory of the road notice) you must arrange to have it stored off the public highway with the landowner's permission.

Burnt-out vehicles:

Burnt-out vehicles should be reported as a matter of urgency and removed as a matter of urgency owing to the dangerous chemical reaction they give off when burnt out and therefore hazardous if touched.

Is abandoning a vehicle an offence?

Yes.  It is a criminal offence to abandon a motor vehicle or anything that has formed part of a motor vehicle on any land in the open air or on any other land forming part of the highway.

How much is the fine?

You may be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 as an alternative to prosecution.

Abandoning a vehicle carries a maximum fine of £2500 or 3 months imprisonment or both.