If you find that you must have a vehicle removed from your land after 1st October 2012, and you do not have ‘lawful authority’, you must contact the authorities to remove the vehicle. “‘Lawful authority’ will apply in cases where specific legislation is in force which allows for vehicles to be immobilised, moved or have their movement restricted.
There are obvious examples, such as the public roads, where Road Traffic Regulations authorise local authorities and the police to clamp or tow vehicles. Other statutory authorities also retain the ability to clamp, such as the DVLA and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (and their agents) where vehicles are not road worthy or have not had their vehicle tax paid. In addition, there are also parking areas where particular local laws (called bye-laws) have been created that provide for parking enforcement.
A good example of this is some railway station car parks. Under the Transport Act 2000, bye-laws were made which allow for vehicles in some railway station car parks to be immobilised or removed.
There are many other organisations and public bodies which have ‘lawful authority’ to immobilise, move or restrict vehicles through legislation such as Acts of Parliament and local bye-laws. These include bodies which exercise control at airports, ports and harbours, strategic river crossings and some common land.
Owners of private car parks cannot gain ‘lawful authority’ to clamp or tow a vehicle by obtaining the driver’s consent to doing so. However, they can obtain lawful authority to restrict vehicles by the use of fixed barriers, as are often used at the entry and exit points of car parks, if they have the driver’s consent. This consent could be provided by the driver choosing to park in the car park where the use of the barriers has been made reasonably clear.
If you find that authorities are not responding to requests to remove vehicles, particularly in cases where they may be blocking access or causing danger to others, you should inform your local MP. Please also inform the BPA as we will be informing the government if this becomes a persistent problem.
If a vehicle has been abandoned on your land, the process is different from enforcement of a vehicle that is left on private land. The Keep Britain Tidy Campaign has information about dealing with abandoned vehicles, which can be found by accessing this link: http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/KeyIssues/AbandonedVehicles/Default.aspx