Britain becomes car scrapyard

New data, obtained by through Freedom of Information requests to Britain’s 436 local authorities, reveals 31,812 abandoned cars were removed by councils in 2016 and 2017 – that’s one car every 30 minutes.

These vehicles come at a price to the tax payer, as local authorities pay hundreds of thousands of pounds each year clearing roads of abandoned cars. Councils spent £933,379 in 2016 and 2017 alone.

According to’s scrapyard map, some regions have seen the worst of the issue. Councils in the South East received the highest number of reports and removed the most unwanted vehicles throughout 2016 and 2017.  Local authorities in the region removed a total of 6,264 vehicles, from 61,268 reports, costing them £128,078 in total.

The research seems to suggest affordability is very much to blame for drivers abandoning their cars, as almost a quarter (23%) think motoring costs have become unaffordable. Most drivers who have abandoned their car did so because it had broken down and they were unable to afford to have it towed (30%). But one in 15 (7%) could no longer afford to run their vehicle at all. This could explain why almost one in six (16%) drivers who have abandoned their vehicles did so for an average of three weeks, suggesting they were waiting until they could afford to move it.

To try and address the problem of abandoned vehicles clogging up Britain’s roads and car parks, garages and manufacturers have put in place scrappage schemes to help relieve drivers of their old or unwanted cars sustainably. But, only one in eight (13%) motorists have used one of these schemes. Drivers using these schemes can be entitled to cashback if their vehicle meets a certain criterion, which is both easier and potentially more financially rewarding than selling a car privately.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says, ‘The rising cost of fuel, car insurance and tax is overwhelming some motorists, causing some of them to ditch their vehicles when they breakdown. Our interactive map shows just how much of an issue this has become across Britain, as councils spend hundreds of thousands of pounds every year removing unwanted cars from the roadside.

‘Abandoned vehicles are an eye-sore and a nuisance. Drivers who suspect a car has been dumped in their area should use’s search tool to contact their local council, who will get in touch with the owner, or remove it.’