Abandoned and end of life vehicles

Abandoned vehicles are removed by your local district, borough or city council. If the vehicle is causing an obstruction or is dangerous, it can also be removed by the police.

If you’re not sure which local council to contact, visit Where I live and enter the name of the road where the vehicle has been abandoned into the search. Choose the closest address to the vehicle, then select District Council/Boundaries.

When you report the vehicle, it’s helpful if you can provide the following information: vehicle location, whether it’s dangerous or causing an obstruction, the condition it’s in, registration, make, model and colour.

Getting rid of end of life vehicles

Government regulations mean car owners are entitled to free take-back for their old vehicles. Car manufacturers have established a nationwide network to accept them.

If your vehicle has come to the end of its life, you can use a car recycling service like Rewarding Recycling or CarTakeBack to get rid of it.

Our powers and what to do if your vehicle is removed

A vehicle means any vehicle, whether or not it is in a fit state for use on roads, and includes any chassis or body, with or without wheels, appearing to have formed part of such a vehicle, and any load carried by, and anything attached to, such a vehicle.

Under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978, the Waste Collection Authority (local councils) has a duty to remove vehicles that appear to be abandoned in its area.

The Waste Disposal Authority (Norfolk County Council) has a duty to store and dispose of abandoned vehicles.

Norfolk County Council is also entitled to recover costs from any person responsible as laid down in the Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles (Prescribed Sums and Charges etc) Regulations 2008. If you are the Registered Keeper or Owner of a vehicle that has been deemed abandoned, then you are responsible for these costs.

The vehicle appeared to be abandoned for one or more of these reasons:

  • Untaxed (not a reason on its own)
  • No current vehicle keeper on DVLA records
  • Stationary for a significant amount of time
  • Significantly damaged, run down or un-roadworthy (eg flat tyres, wheels removed, broken windows or lacking one or more of its number plates)
  • Burned out
  • Containing waste
  • Causing an obstruction

This is not an exhaustive list and a vehicle would not have to be displaying the full list to be considered abandoned.

Contact Norfolk County Council on 0344 800 8020, or email information@norfolk.gov.uk. We may refer you to the Waste Collection Authority for your area, for additional information.

A vehicle will be destroyed if it has no tax displayed and no registration plate or it is in a dangerous condition.

A vehicle is in a dangerous condition if one or more of these conditions apply:

  • Burnt out
  • Environmental Hazard – Leaking fluid (e.g. oil, fuel, brake)
  • Flat tyres
  • Wheels removed
  • Broken windows
  • Containing dangerous waste (eg needles, blood, faeces, munitions)

The vehicle will also be disposed of if, after 7 days, we have been unable to trace the owner, or if the statutory charges have not been paid.

We store vehicles for seven days, in certain circumstances, while we try to find the owner. It will be stored if it is displaying tax and not in a dangerous condition; displaying a registration plate, including non-GB registration plates and not in a dangerous condition; not in a dangerous condition or suspected of being involved in crime.

We accept proof of ownership if you are registered with the DVLA as the vehicle’s keeper, or you possess the vehicle registration certificate form V5, or the new keeper supplement.

If the vehicle is an unregistered trailer then payment of removal and storage costs will be accepted as proof of ownership.

If the vehicle is non-GB registered then payment of removal and storage costs by the holder of a valid non-GB passport will be accepted as proof of ownership.

If you can prove that you are no longer of the vehicle, the charges may be waived. Please get in contact with us.

When you have proved ownership and all costs for removal, storage and disposal are paid, the vehicle can be collected from the storage compound if it has road tax, an MOT certificate and is insured. Proof of these must be shown at the compound before the vehicle can be taken away. You must give 12 hours notice of collection.

If the vehicle has no tax, no MOT or no insurance, you can arrange for a recovery service to collect the vehicle from the compound. You must give 12 hours notification of collection.

You can contact the compound directly to arrange for them to deliver it back to you. You will need to pay a charge to the contractor before delivery of the vehicle. You can pay by card over the phone.

The contents of any vehicle are part of the load carried by the vehicle. We will need to be satisfied that you are the vehicle owner before returning any contents.

If your car has been stored, and you contact us prior to disposal, you can collect the contents from our contractor. You will be required to pay any costs for removal, storage and disposal before we return any contents to you.

Vehicles containing dangerous waste will be disposed of, along with the contents.

The removal, storage and disposal costs are statutory charges laid down in the Removal, Storage and Disposal Vehicle Regulations.

These start at £150 for removal, £20 a day for storage and £75 for disposal.

The costs cannot be challenged as they are statutory charges, although they can be waived if you have the official documentation to prove you are no longer the Registered Owner or Keeper of the vehicle.

After contacting Norfolk County Council, you can pay by cash or credit card, by phone or in person at the cashier’s office at County Hall, Norwich.

The cashier’s office is open: Monday – Thursday 8:45am to 5:30pm and Friday 8:45am to 4:30pm. If you have any queries about payment please contact the cashier’s office on 0344 800 8020.

Delivery costs for the return of a vehicle are paid directly to the contractor.

Abandoned vehicles will be disposed of in accordance with the End-of-life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005.