Council's bid to clear abandoned cars

A TOUGH new approach to dealing with abandoned cars is beginning to pay off for a district council, which is hoping to clear about 1,000 vehicles from the streets in the project's first year.

By Sharon Asplin

A TOUGH new approach to dealing with abandoned cars is beginning to pay off for a district council, which is hoping to clear about 1,000 vehicles from the streets in the project's first year.

Specialist local contractors, Endeavour Vehicle Services, of Thorpe-le-Soken, are now working in partnership with Tendring District Council, investigating cars and other vehicles reported to the authority as abandoned.

In the four months since the contract began, more than 225 vehicles have been taken off the road

Details of reported vehicles are digitally recorded and notices subsequently served to known keepers once the council has carried out ownership checks by direct computer link with the DVLA in Swansea.

Identified owners who do not remove their vehicles once notified risk subsequent prosecution and will be charged for disposal, which now includes a process of de-pollution that removes all the hazardous fluids and other substances.

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Where an owner cannot be identified using the DVLA system, the council's contractor will promptly take the car off the street.

Michael Talbot, the council's environment portfolio holder, said: "Our contractors, Endeavour, are providing an excellent service, but unfortunately too many people still think they can just dump a vehicle on a verge or in a lay-by and council tax payers will pick up the bill for its correct disposal.

"This remains totally unacceptable and we will prosecute where we have satisfactory evidence."

In 2003-4, the council removed 538 vehicles from the district's roads - an average of 24 days to remove each one. In 2004-5, 697 vehicles were removed, an average of 6.5 days to clear.

Since introducing the new contract, the average time taken to remove a vehicle has fallen to 2.5 days and the annual removal rate could now climb to 1,000.

Anyone wishing to report an abandoned vehicle should call the council's dedicated helpline number on 01255 686799.

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