HL Deb 28 January 2002 vol 631 cc6-7WA
Lord Morris of Manchester

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What rules apply to the removal from public highways of burned-out and other demonstrably abandoned vehicles; where responsibility lies, including that for the cost of removal; and what monitoring is done of local authority and police practices in arranging removal, especially in regard to the length of time taken to remove such vehicles. [HL2409]

Lord Whitty

The rules that apply to the removal from public highways of burned out and abandoned vehicles are set out in the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978, the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Removal and Disposal of Vehicles Regulations 1986.

Responsibility for removing abandoned vehicles rests primarily with the local authorities which may, under existing legislation, claim their costs of removal, storage and disposal back from the person abandoning the vehicle. In many cases local authorities are unable to trace the offender and their costs will then have to be met from the local authority's budget.

Under the 1986 regulations, the police have powers to remove an abandoned vehicle where it is dangerous or a hazard to traffic. Such vehicles will be removed by contractors acting for the police as quickly as possible. Such vehicles are normally removed to a pound or to

a location where they no longer pose a hazard. The vehicle's insurers pay the contractors the statutory removal charge of £105 for insured burnouts. The contract with the contractors specifies that they should bear the cost of removing non-insured burnouts.

We do not monitor local authorities' performance on the length of time taken to remove these vehicles. Individual local authorities may keep their own records. No monitoring is carried out by the police on contractors' performance because the vehicles have to be removed as a matter of urgency.