South-East a ‘scrapyard’ for dumped vehicles on the roadside

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  • Number of cars removed has increased six-fold in four years
  • One car removed every 30 minutes
  • Councils pay £130 to remove unwanted cars

The South-East is becoming a scrapyard for abandoned cars, with new research revealing the region saw the highest number of vehicles dumped on the roadside in 2016 and 2017.

The research, obtained through Freedom of Information requests to 52 councils across the South-East, reveals 61,268 reports of abandoned cars were filed over the two year period.

This is the highest number of reports recorded of any region, accounting for almost a quarter (23%) of the total number reported across the UK.

And the research by Confused.com, the driver savings site, found these nuisance vehicles came at a very expensive cost to local authorities.

Councils were forced to pay out £128,078 of tax-payers’ money to remove or destroy unwanted and unclaimed cars in 2016 and 2017.

And the issue has become progressively worse over the years, as the number of vehicles removed by local authorities in the South-East increased six-fold in just four years (524 – 2012 vs. 3,920 – 2016) – equivalent to a rise of 648%.

In fact, local authorities in the region removed more of these abandoned vehicles than those in other areas of the UK over the two year period – 6,264 in total; 4,249 of these also went on to be destroyed.

And the research suggests the issue is widespread across the UK, not just in the South-East, with one car removed every thirty minutes on average.

In total, 261,724 reports were made to councils in 2016 and 2017, of which 31,812 were removed and 20,551 destroyed.

To visualise the epidemic, Confused.com has created an interactive scrapyard map, which identifies the most prolific regions for drivers ditching their cars.

Users can also use the map to see how the problem has worsened in their area, with the number of cars being abandoned across the UK going up by 577% in just four years (2012-2016).

However, as the map shows, drivers ditching their cars in the South-East has clearly created quite a headache for the local councils.

With so much of taxpayers money being spent on removing these vehicles it’s no wonder almost three in five (56%) motorists in the region find them a nuisance and say they make the streets look run down (60%).

This is not surprising, seeing as more than one in five (21%) say they have seen them clogging up their own residential area, with a further one in four (26%) spotting one on the side of an A-road.

Yet only one in eight (12%) drivers in the region have reported the issue to their local council.

For drivers who have seen a stranded vehicle, but not known what they can do about it, Confused.com has created a new ‘Report an abandoned car’ tool. This enables users to search for their local council and give them all the information needed to take action.

Unfortunately, the issue of drivers ditching their cars is more widespread among motorists in the region than you may think, with one in seven (15%) admitting they have abandoned their vehicle at some point. However, most (91%) of these only did so temporarily.

To try and address the problem of abandoned vehicles clogging up Britain’s roads and car parks, garages and manufacturers have put in place scrappage schemes to help relieve drivers of their old or unwanted cars sustainably.

But, only one in seven (14%) motorists in the South-East have used one of these schemes. Drivers using these schemes can be entitled to cashback if their vehicles meets a certain criteria, which is both easier and potentially more financially rewarding than selling a car privately. And with the rising costs of car insurance, fuel and servicing and repair costs, a bit of extra cash could certainly come in handy.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “The rising cost of fuel, car insurance and tax is overwhelming some motorists, causing some of them to ditch their vehicles. Our interactive map shows just how much of an issue this has become across the South East, as councils spend thousands of pounds every year removing unwanted cars from the roadside.

“Abandoned vehicles are an eye-sore and a nuisance. Drivers who suspect a car has been dumped in their area should use Confused.com’s search tool to contact their local council, who will get in touch with the owner, or remove it.

“Sadly, one of the reasons so many drivers are abandoning their vehicles is due to the rising cost of owning a car, especially car insurance which is now £827(3) on average. To save money motorists should shop around online using Confused.com.”