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Abandoned vehicles

Report an abandoned vehicle

We can only remove abandoned vehicles if both:

  • they have no valid vehicle tax
  • the owner is unknown

We issue enforcement notices before removing vehicles, unless the police have asked us to remove it.

Where we cannot help:

  • we have no power to remove untaxed vehicles that are being used or have a known owner – vehicle tax offences should be reported to the DVLA.
  • parked vehicles which are badly parked, causing an obstruction or are in a dangerous condition – these should be reported to the police

Questions and facts about abandoned vehicles

How quickly will a vehicle be removed?

When we have received a report of an abandoned vehicle, we check the tax and MOT status to see if a physical inspection is required. If we have reason to believe a vehicle may have been abandoned we will put a notice on the vehicle, normally giving the owner 7 days to claim the vehicle. We may reduce this if a vehicle is considered to be at risk or dangerous. If the vehicle is not claimed and moved within the notice period, we will arrange for it to be removed. Vehicles may be removed immediately if they are dangerous or authorised by the police.

A notice has been put on my vehicle. What should I do?

You should call us 01454 868000 to claim the vehicle. We can then let you know why the vehicle was considered to have been abandoned.

I believe the council have removed my vehicle. How do I get it back?

Contact us on 01454 868000 to check if we have removed your vehicle. Low value vehicles which are untaxed are disposed of immediately. Other vehicles may be stored for up to 28 days. To claim your vehicle you will need to pay the statutory fees to release it and make arrangements for the vehicle to be recovered if it isn’t road legal. Charges start at £150, and increase every day a vehicle is stored. Vehicles removed under authorisation by the police are disposed of immediately.

Why have I received an invoice for the removal and disposal of an abandoned vehicle I no longer own?

We obtained your details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You must notify them of a change of ownership. If you are no longer the owner of the vehicle you must put let us know in writing and include the name and address of the person who took possession of the vehicle, with any evidence that may support your case.

A vehicle has been left in my street for days – is it abandoned?

We will check whether a vehicle reported as abandoned is taxed and has an MOT. We can only remove it if the owner is unknown and the vehicle untaxed. If the vehicle belongs to a neighbour or it has a valid tax then it does not meet the criteria for an abandoned vehicle.

If you believe a vehicle may have been stolen, you should contact the police on 101.

My neighbour owns a vehicle but never uses it and it is untaxed – is it abandoned?

If a vehicle has a known owner, it is not classified as abandoned and we will not be able to remove it. You can report the issue to the DVLA or, if the vehicle is in a dangerous condition, contact the police by calling 101.

How do you deal with foreign registered vehicles?

We cannot carry out our normal checks on foreign registered vehicles. A foreign registered vehicle can be used in the UK for up to six months after which it must be registered with the DVLA. If you believe a foreign registered vehicle is being used illegally please notify the DVLA. We may put a notice on a foreign registered vehicle to try to bring an owner forward, but would not remove the vehicle unless it was in a dangerous condition.

Can you remove an abandoned vehicle from a car park?

If the car park belongs to South Gloucestershire Council we can remove the vehicle. If the car park is privately owned, you should contact the landowner to make them aware of it. If you are reporting a vehicle on land managed by your Housing Association, you should refer the issue to your Housing Officer. In some circumstances we are able to assist landowners to remove abandoned vehicles from their land.

Who should I contact about a vehicle that has been abandoned on private land?

You should contact the landowner to make them aware of the vehicle. In some circumstances we are able to assist landowners remove abandoned vehicles from their land.

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