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Abandoned Vehicles

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many abandoned motor vehicles have been collected in Leeds in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002; and if he will make a statement. [114383]

I have been asked to reply.The question on abandoned vehicles was asked for first time in the 2000–01 Municipal Waste Management Survey. The numbers of abandoned vehicles reported by Leeds City Council are listed as follows.

We have taken action to tackle the abandoned vehicle problem by reducing the statutory notice periods after which local authorities can remove abandoned vehicles from the highway and the storage periods for unlicensed vehicles. Local authorities can now remove from the highway those vehicles that they consider merit destruction after 24 hours.Following the success of the Newham pilot in which the local authority was given DVLA"s powers to wheelclamp and remove unlicensed vehicles after 24 hours, we have announced that all Councils who wished could operate in the same way.More than 8,000 abandoned unlicensed vehicles have been targeted as a result of Operation Cubit with over 6,000 vehicles crushed. More Operations are planned. To date Operation Cubit has induced more than 27,000 motorists to relicense their vehicles voluntarily bringing in over £3.5 million in additional revenue.We have provided £2.7 million through the Invest to Save budget to enable local authorities to have quicker, easier access to DVLA"s vehicle register.

The Government is currently developing proposals for the reform and modernisation of vehicle registration and licensing, to reduce evasion and to bear down on vehicle crime. In response to the recommendations of a report commissioned by the Department for Transport from the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science DfT have established a Modernising Vehicle Registration Implementation Board (MVRIB).

This includes representatives of motorists" organisations, the motor trade, the police and the insurance industry to advise on and develop those proposals.

The Finance Act 2002 contained provisions under which the responsibility for licensing and taxing vehicles will be placed on the registered keeper, who will remain liable for doing so until such time that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has properly been notified of a change of keeper. These proposals will also mean that it is not necessary for a vehicle to be detected on the road for effective enforcement action to take place. The implementation of these new powers is at the heart of MVRIB"s agenda.