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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 11/01/2005
PROPOSALS FOR A VEHICLE POUND



Summary & Purpose
This report deals with a proposal to create a Waverley Vehicle Pound. It has financial, legal and environmental consequences. The need to deal quickly with cars abandoned on the highway has been identified as a council priority. This proposal will improve the ability to respond more quickly in certain circumstances, It therefore also has a positive crime and disorder reduction implication.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
Positive
Positive
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive



Annexe 1

APPENDIX P
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 4TH OCTOBER 2004
_________________________________________________________________________
Title:
PROPOSALS FOR A VEHICLE POUND
[Wards Affected: ALL]
_________________________________________________________________________
Summary and purpose:

This report deals with a proposal to create a Waverley Vehicle Pound. It has financial, legal and environmental consequences. The need to deal quickly with cars abandoned on the highway has been identified as a council priority. This proposal will improve the ability to respond more quickly in certain circumstances, It therefore also has a positive crime and disorder reduction implication.
_________________________________________________________________________
Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
Positive
Positive
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive

Abandoned cars are visually intrusive, a major cause of fires and are unsafe on the highway, often causing interruption to the flow of traffic. They add to the aura of deprivation and represent a ‘signal crime’ causing other, more serious, criminal activity. Their speedy removal improves the local environment, removes the potential occasion of fire, accident and pollution and helps foster a sense of well-being and safety in local communities. Work in this area will support the local economy.

Resource and Legal Implications

These are outlined in the body of the report.
_________________________________________________________________________

Background

1. District Councils have powers to deal with abandoned cars under the provisions of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978, as amended. A car is defined as abandoned in this respect under the meaning of the relevant legislation when it has no known keeper or owner. Due to the complexity and variety of problems relating to abandoned vehicles, there is no sole definition currently used. In respect of this legislation a vehicle is deemed to be abandoned only when the Local Authority decides that it is abandoned. ‘Abandoned’ does not relate to the condition of the car or to whether or not it displays a current road fund license. The Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, DVLA and the Highways Authority all have a range of other powers in respect of cars left on the highway in a dangerous condition or position, or untaxed, or uninsured or alight.

2. Currently, in discharging its duties, Waverley has to satisfy itself as to the lack of ownership of the vehicle. Once it is established that there is no owner or keeper, the average time for removal is now 2.5 working days. Also the time taken to establish ownership is now much reduced as a consequence of collaborative working with the DVLA and the local police.

3. The costs are currently reimbursed in respect of disposal by Surrey County Council. The Borough Council needs to investigate the costs of removal to a pound in the first instance for ‘difficult’ cars which cannot be immediately scrapped.

Concerns

4. From a political perspective concern has been raised about abandoned vehicles being visible on the streets for significant periods of time. Whereas these vehicles are not necessarily abandoned within the meaning of the law, to the public they are nuisance vehicles.

5. Such vehicles may be unroadworthy, untaxed or badly parked. They have a deleterious environmental impact and can be the occasion of fires or the precipitator of other, more serious, crime. The Police describe this sort of crime as ‘signal crime’.

Proposal

6. It is proposed to create a vehicle pound at Farnham Fire Station. Initial discussions have occurred with the station commander and with the County Council. The capital costs of the necessary works are estimated at 10,000. The pound would enable either Waverley or the Police or the Fire and Rescue Service to tow away vehicles not able to be dealt with by Waverley using its powers and for them to be stored securely until reclaimed by their owners. The costs of towing can be accommodated within the three authorities’ existing revenue budgets for this purpose. The additional revenue costs will arise from the need to control the release of the vehicles. This is not able to be managed through the infrastructure of the Fire Station. The suggestion is that a part-time person is employed to cover this function which will require the inspection of relevant documents before authorising release. At 50% of scale 10 this is estimated to cost 10,000 pa.

Resource and legal implications:

Legal Considerations

7. It will be necessary for lawyers from Waverley, the Police Authority and Surrey County Council to agree the basis of the powers used to service this joint facility and the ability and authority necessary to use these collective powers both jointly and severally. A formal agreement may need to be approved by the Executive in due course.

Crime and Disorder Reduction Implications

8. The proposal to create a pound has positive crime and disorder reduction implications. The Police are keen to support its advancement and the Fire and Rescue Service have identified abandoned cars as a significant issue in terms of fires.

Capital and Revenue Costs and Resource Implications

Capital costs

Provision of land for the vehicle pound nil*
Costs of security fencing and gate 10,000
______
10,000

supplied without charge by Surrey County Council/Fire and Rescue Service as their contribution.

Revenue Costs

Administrator for the scheme based on
50% of scale 10 plus on-costs 10,000

9. It is proposed that the capital costs are met by the Police Authority and that the revenue costs are met by Waverley. The County’s contribution is envisaged as the nil cost supply of the necessary land.

Conclusion

10. This proposal represents a low-cost, low-tech solution for dealing with the residual nuisance of cars on the highway in Waverley. It achieves a priority objective for Waverley as well as being highly desirable to the Police and Fire and Rescue. In order to minimise risks associated with long term commitments, it is proposed that the scheme is run for a trial period of one year in the first instance.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive:

1. supports the principle of using a vehicle pound for nuisance cars which cannot be removed peremptorily using abandoned vehicle powers;
2. approves the inclusion of 10,000 as a growth bid in the draft revenue estimates for 2005/06 only as Waverley’s contribution to the scheme, to be applied to the appointment of a part time scheme administrator based at Farnham Fire Station;
3. agrees that the three authorities (Waverley, the Police and Surrey County Council) confirm the legal issues concerning the joint use of powers to remove vehicles to the proposed pound;
4. monitors the efficacy of the scheme and receives a report on the same in due course and before agreeing any subsequent funding; and
5. fully indemnifies Waverley officers from any claim, damage or action arising out of implementing the approved scheme.

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Background Papers (DoE&L)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Peter Maudsley Telephone: 01483 523398
E-mail: pmaudsley@waverley.gov.uk







comms/exec/04-05/370
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