Abandoned Vehicles

How to identify an abandoned vehicle

A motor vehicle is considered abandoned when an authorised local authority officer decides that it has been discarded without lawful authority in accordance with the Refuse Disposal Amenity Act 1978. Under this act, the abandonment of a motor vehicle or any part thereof, is a criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty or a fine of £2,500 or three months' imprisonment or both.


How to tell whether a vehicle has been abandoned (but not limited to)

  • Is it taxed?
  • Are the tyres flat?
  • Is litter piling up around it or weeds growing around vehicle indicating it has not been moved for some time?
  • Is windscreen/window broken?
  • Is there mould inside or outside the vehicle?
  • Is there waste in the car - tyres, old newspapers general rubbish?
  • Is the vehicle number plate missing?
  • Are there wires hanging from the dashboard?

We will also ask information regarding how long the motor vehicle has been in situ and if you know who the owner of the vehicle is.

The City Council will also investigate vehicles which are:

  • burnt out
  • wrecked
  • leaking fluids
  • attracting anti-social behaviour


Report an abandoned vehicle

To report an abandoned vehicle which meets the above criteria please either email heretohelp@gloucester.gov.uk or phone 01452 396 396


Abandoned vehicles on private land

Vehicles on private land, including private car parks, present a different case to those on the public highway, in that Gloucester City Council has no direct powers to remove vehicles on private land. The Council can only remove vehicles from private land if the request comes from the Landowner, subject to a few conditions as discussed below.

If a landowner wants a vehicle removed from their property, they have similar legal obligations as the Council, and must try and trace the owner of the vehicle. As with the Council, a landowner can contact the DVLA to request them to trace the owner. If these actions are unsuccessful, the police can be contacted to see if they have any interest in the vehicle. Once checks have been carried out the landowner

The council will remove a vehicle on behalf of a landowner providing they can show that they have made all reasonable efforts to contact the vehicle owner (for example, quoting a police incident number and providing the Council with copies of any correspondence they may have received).


Vehicle tax changes

From 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer be issued or be required to be displayed on a vehicle windscreen. Vehicle Excise Duty will still need to be paid and the DVLA will have a digital record of this. For further information go to DVLA

You can check the tax status of any vehicle here


Untaxed vehicles

Although it is an offence to use a vehicle on a public highway without road tax, untaxed vehicles are not necessarily abandoned. Gloucester City Council does not deal with and will NOT investigate untaxed vehicles. If a vehicle is untaxed but does not meet any of the criteria above you it can be reported to the DVLA online or by contacting 0300 790 6802.


What can I do with a vehicle which has reached the end of its life?

Scrapping your vehicle is another option and this can be done through a properly registered ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility). The Environment Agency has an end of life vehicles authorised treatment facilities register.

There are 3 main reasons why you should only dispose of your vehicle through an ATF registered company:

  • Registered ATFs are required to keep a record of your details for 3 years
  • Only registered ATFs can issue a genuine Certificate of Destruction (CoD)
  • Registered ATFs will depollute and recycle your car correctly and legally, in accordance with guidelines set by the Environment Agency


What do I do when I sell a vehicle?

By Law the DVLA must be informed that you are no longer the registered owner of the vehicle. For further information visit www.gov.uk/sold-bought-vehicle.

If you do not transfer ownership you can still be held legally accountable for the vehicle, even though you are no longer the owner. A logbook (V5C) will be sent to the new owner and you'll get a vehicle tax refund by cheque for any remaining months.