Agenda item

Abandoned Vehicle Policy


Ben Stevens ran through the report with members and welcomed questions.

Cllr Harden referred to the end of section 3 and the statistics around recent activity and the small 3.81% of vehicles that were removed and destroyed from a total of 1,337 reports. He asked what officers believed was the cause of the low percentage to be and was there an issue around public awareness as to what constituted an abandoned vehicle so that many reported vehicles were not actually abandoned.

B.Stevens said that there is a section on the website for reporting and they do try and demonstrate on there when reporting what an abandoned vehicle was. However, this does not always succeed and the vehicle is often just a nuisance vehicle.

Cllr Harden said he would be interested to look into perhaps doing a campaign to help residents understand what an abandoned vehicle is and thus cut down on the time wasted by officers.

B.Stevens said he would take those comments back and consider what they could do.

Cllr Birnie referred to the point that said that officers would follow up within 3 days of a report of an abandoned vehicle and asked if that was correct. He was also surprised that there was such a discrepancy between the number of reports and the vehicles that were found to be abandoned. He asked whether most people realise realising that they have to move their car as a result of the issue of the initial notice.

B.Stevens explained that many people will react once they got the notice and the car was often claimed or officers have a discussion with the owner and the vehicle is moved, some people do not want to move them but the car is then reclaimed before destruction.

Cllr Harden suggested that there may be a reporting mechanism that they could put in their data showing the reasons for resolution, for example that the owner had moved the vehicle.

E.Walker said that although there was only a result of 51 resolved by removal in actual fact all were resolved as some were moved as they were not abandoned. She took Cllr Harden’s point regarding education and felt it was a good idea. However, using that as a performance indicator as to what officers were doing was not appropriate.

B.Stevens added that other authorities were also reporting low numbers.

Cllr Beauchamp asked for clarity on paragraph 5.4 concerning vehicles on private land. He asked if this covered private land that had been used for a number of years as a community car park whether the Council had any enforcement powers under these circumstances.

B.Stevens said that they can enforce on any open land and what often happened was that the land owner reported it. Where the land owner was not known then a 15 day notice would be served.

Cllr Silwal referred to paragraph 3.4 where the local authority could issue a fixed penalty of £200 instead of prosecuting and asked if that was before or after a court case.

B.Stevens said that this was prior to court and if officers have enough evidence, they could issue a fixed penalty before court action.

Cllr Silwal had reported a car on Friday that was in a poor state. However no one came to remove the car until Monday even though it was in a dangerous position. He asked how it was decided that a car was dangerous and would need to be moved urgently.

B.Stevens said that there were no legal definitions of vehicle abandonment, which made things difficult. However, condition, location and other factors are considered before deciding that a car is abandoned and officers cannot be too hasty in removing vehicles. If it were in a dangerous position it probably would have been a matter for the police.

The report was noted



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