Number of vehicles abandoned in the UK rises 70 percent: Transit van tops list

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The number of abandoned cars being abandoned in the UK has shot up some 70 percent in the past six years, costing the taxpayer thousands. In 2017, 12,500 cars were dumped in comparison to 21,106 last year.

The figures were discovered following a Freedom of Information act by Rivervale Leasing who sent out 50 FOI requests to councils across the UK.

According to the UK Government website – a car can, at their discretion, be considered abandoned if it meets criteria including no registered owner with the DVLA and no tax, has been left stationary for a prolonged period and if there are clear signs of damage without a number plate.

A car that has been burned out would also be considered to be abandoned.

Of all the cars included in the research, the Ford Transit was the most commonly ditched.

Some 610 Transit vans were found abandoned in 2021, working out to a staggering 12 ditched every week.

Second was the family favourite Vauxhall Astra with 367 abandoned, followed by another Ford, the Focus, which was abandoned 363 times.

Somewhat surprisingly, not even luxury vehicles were immune to having owners leave them by the side of the road.

Eighth on the list was the BMW 3 series, 145 of which were abandoned last year.

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Regarding brands overall, the UK’s fourth biggest selling car company Ford was also the most abandoned.

The amount of Fords reported abandoned by the councils in the study was 2,216 in total.

The rest of the top three was rounded out by British mainstay Vauxhall in second place with 1,508 reports and the current UK best-selling brand Volkswagen in third with 1,149 abandoned across the year.

Iconic British brand Land Rover was the least abandoned, with just 189 in 2021.

In terms of areas, it was Bradford in West Yorkshire that reported the most abandoned vehicles out of the 50 councils surveyed, with 3,561 found last year.

Second was Milton Keynes with 1,869 and third was Barnet in London with 1,846.

Abandoning a vehicle is a crime (Section 2 of the Refuse Disposal Amenity Act 1978) and could result in a £2,500 fine as well as three months of prison time.

Anyone abandoning a vehicle is also liable for storage costs or disposal and can even be disqualified from driving.

To top it off, once a vehicle has come to the end of its useful life, it can be classified as hazardous waste.

That means doing so could result in a breach of Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which has a maximum 5-year sentence and an unlimited fine.

The Government even has a dedicated website for reporting abandoned cars.

The public are directed to enter their postcode and given relevant council website details where they can inform the proper authorities.

Most abandoned vehicles

1 Ford Transit 610
2 Vauxhall Astra 367
3 Ford Focus 363
4 Vauxhall Corsa 301
5 Volkswagen Golf 293
6 Ford Fiesta 276
7 Volkswagen Polo 164
8 BMW 3-Series 145
9 Renault Clio 141
10 Ford Mondeo 120

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