Why are abandoned vehicles a problem?
Abandoned vehicles are expensive to remove, have a negative impact on the environment, look unsightly and can lower the quality of life in neighbourhoods. This can then result or lead to crime, can quickly become dangerous when vandalised or filled with hazardous waste (they are often used as skips). There is a risk of explosion or injury; they can leak dangerous fluids, which can catch fire or run into the water stream and they are often burnt which can endanger lives, property and the environment.
Why do people abandon vehicles?
Abandoned vehicles have been a problem since the 1960s. The problem has got progressively worse, particularly over the past five years. Vehicles no longer have the same scrap value of previous years. Therefore owners of vehicles that are no longer of any use often have to pay to have their cars taken away. The cost of vehicle removal is further increased because vehicle dismantlers have to pay more to dispose of tyres due to waste disposal regulations.
The fines for unlicensed and untaxed vehicles are often greater than the value of the vehicles themselves and so this leads to drivers simply abandoning them. This is also true of vehicles that have attracted high parking fines. Vehicles used in burglaries, ram raiding, joy riding and smuggling are also often abandoned once the crime has been committed.
Unfortunately there is no one reason why people abandon vehicles. In fact there are a wide variety of reasons why vehicles are abandoned:
• The value of used cars is decreasing
• The removal of leaded petrol from sale
• The high cost of maintaining and repairing the vehicle when it is old
• The increase in MOT failure rate, as some older vehicles cannot meet the standard required on exhaust emission
• Personal circumstances
What can I do about an abandoned vehicle?
As a resident you can help by reporting vehicles which you believe to be abandoned to your Council. Some councils have websites which contain advice on reporting abandoned vehicles; some even provide an online reporting system. To find the website of your local authority, log on to www.direct.gov.uk and click on ‘A-Z local authorities’.
Abandoning vehicles is illegal and dangerous and it can ruin the appearance of your neighbourhood. Don’t put up with it – report it. Once reported the vehicle can be removed and with your help the crime can be investigated.
If you find abandoned and nuisance vehicles unacceptable and think it is a blight on your local area why not become a Keep Britain Tidy supporter and we will keep you updated on everything we are doing to tackle the problem and other environmental issues damaging our local communities.
Keep Britain Tidy run tackling nuisance vehicles training courses for both councils and local communities. This course will identify the impact caused by nuisance vehicle on the environment and the community, including the effect they have on crime and the fear of crime. It will allow the various types of nuisance vehicles to be identified and practical solutions examined to deal with the nuisance they cause.
Many groups involved in the Big Tidy Up www.thebigtidyup.org extend the event to more than litter picking. Often groups use a Big Tidy Up litter pick as a starting point to renovate an area such as a local park or community centre.
For more information about abandoned vehicles view our Knowledge Banks.