The council has a duty to remove vehicles that are abandoned 'within the meaning of the law' - meaning that all rights and concerns in a vehicle have been given up and that no one responsible for the vehicle can be traced. Being untaxed, unroadworthy or illegally parked does not make a vehicle abandoned.
In the financial year 2012/13, we investigated 1177 reports of alleged abandoned vehicles, of which 66 were removed. This amounts to 5.6% of the vehicles being genuinely abandoned.
If the council removes a vehicle that is not abandoned under the terms of the law, we may become liable for any claims for compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is a car in my street that hasn't moved for some time. How do I report it and will the council remove it?
You can contact us by:
- telephone or textphone (minicom) (01273) 292929
- fax (01273) 292326
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can also report an abandoned vehicle on-line to the police via their website The vehicle will be assessed against criteria for abandonment. If no-one responsible for the vehicle can be found and its condition suggests that it has been abandoned - ie in a very poor condition, seriously damaged or vandalised - then the council will usually remove it, depending on its location.
There is an abandoned car in a carpark, on housing land or on private property. Can the council remove it?
The council has a duty to remove abandoned vehicles on the public highway. On other land - such as car parks or private property - written permission is required from the owner responsible or their agent before we can investigate.
Can the council tow away vehicles which are untaxed but not abandoned?
We cannot deal with a vehicle just because it does not display a current licence. The responsibility lies with the DVLA as they are the enforcing agency. They can be contacted directly on 0300 7906802 or you can complete their online reporting form.
How do I report a dangerously parked or obstructive vehicle?
Dangerously parked or obstructive vehicles should be reported directly to our parking team:
- telephone 0845 6035 469 option 3
- email email@example.com
In case of emergency, you may also contact Sussex Police on 101.