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Abandoned vehicles, scrap and end-of-life vehicles

Scrap cars and abandoned vehicles can be an eyesore in the community. If disposed of incorrectly they can also be harmful to the environment. Vehicle owners have obligations for keeping vehicle ownership details up to date and to dispose of end-of-life vehicles (scrap) correctly. In certain circumstances the council may remove abandoned vehicles. The police are responsible for dealing with dangerous vehicles.

End of life and scrap vehicles

Vehicle owners must dispose of vehicles correctly and this includes keeping vehicle ownership details up to date. Failing to update vehicle ownership details with the DVLA Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency - GOV.UK ( when you sell or scrap a vehicle could mean you are charged for disposing of a vehicle which you believe you have already sold onwards. This includes “field cars” and “island cars”.

As a vehicle owner it is important to know what to do with it when it has come to the end of its useful life otherwise you could end up being liable for a vehicle you believe you no longer own if it is found to be abandoned.

Manufacturers of most vehicles are obliged to provide a system whereby end of life vehicles can be disposed of free of charge. Such schemes include CarTakeBack   and AutoGreen Scrap My Car | Scrap Car Prices | Rewarding Recycling

These schemes may not be suitable in all circumstances and you may find it more convenient to dispose of your end of life vehicle via a licensed scrap metal dealer  Scrap Metal Dealer - Site Licences (

Abandoned vehicles

There is no legal definition of an “abandoned vehicle” however, if you believe a vehicle may be abandoned you may wish to notify the council who have powers to deal with vehicles abandoned on council land or in some cases third party land. In the first instance you may wish to contact the council’s environmental health team  You will need to provide a precise location and description of the vehicle and why you think it may be abandoned. The environmental health team will then either investigate the matter or refer the case to the relevant council team who look after the particular land. Please note that referring a potential abandoned vehicle to the council may not always result in it being removed.

Dangerous vehicles

If you believe a vehicle to be dangerous or parked in a dangerous way you may wish to contact the police Contact Police Scotland - Police Scotland

Smoky lorries and busses

 You can report smoky lorry or bus exhausts to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Report a smoky lorry or bus - GOV.UK (

Untaxed vehicles

You can report untaxed vehicles online Report an untaxed vehicle - GOV.UK (

For more information

For more information on end-of-life or abandoned vehicles, contact Environmental Health at Orkney Islands Council on telephone 01856873535 extension 2801 or email the team.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS