Number of abandoned cars triples in five years

147,616 cars dumped by the roadside were reported to UK councils in a year, with high scrappage costs blamed for the increase

The number of cars being abandoned by the roadside has tripled in five years, with 147,616 vehicles being reported to local councils in 2016 – and experts are blaming increases in scrappage costs for the rise.

Figures revealed by over 400 UK councils show just 40,876 abandoned cars were reported in 2012, but that number had more than tripled by 2016.

Local councils spent £933,379 removing abandoned cars over 2016 and 2017, but only managed to recoup £115,601 over the same period in fines; an average of £132 per car.

A separate survey, meanwhile, revealed 60 per cent of motorists feel abandoned cars are an eyesore, with a fifth saying they had come across one in their neighbourhood.

Explaining the increases, Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “Twenty years ago if you had a rubbish car you could get £150 for scrapping it. But in recent years the price of metal has gone down and nowadays people will be asked to pay over £100 to have their car taken away and scrapped.”

King cited the growing tendency for people to keep their cars for longer as another possible cause for the increase in reports of abandoned cars, suggesting that doing so would help cash-strapped drivers “save money”.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders supports some of King’s assertions, with the average age of cars increasing from 6.8 years in 2003 to 7.8 years in 2015 – the last year for which figures are available.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, which collected the data via a series of Freedom of Information requests, said: “The rising cost of fuel, car insurance and tax is overwhelming some motorists, causing some of them to ditch their vehicles when they breakdown.

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


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