Council acts to rid streets of untaxed cars

Motorists who fail to tax their vehicles are to be targeted by Wandsworth Council in a tough new crackdown on car tax dodgers.

The council is about to start clamping cars that have been left on the public highway whose owners have ignored warnings to buy a tax disc.

In the next few weeks, council staff will be conducting a systematic check of every street in the borough and placing warning stickers on all untaxed cars they find. The details of these cars will then be passed to the Driver Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) which will pursue the owners for the unpaid road duty.

The warning stickers will be the first phase in the crackdown. If motorists still refuse to buy their tax disc then council staff will clamp their vehicles. The clamps will only be removed after the owner produces a valid tax disc and pays a removal fee. If owners do not respond within 24 hours, the council will remove the vehicle from the public highway.

The initiative is being launched in the borough after Wandsworth extensively lobbied the DVLA for permission to tackle the growing number of untaxed vehicles on local roads. The DVLA is the only agency with the legal powers to deal with untaxed vehicles, but it has just one office serving the whole of London and the South East.

The crackdown is expected to recover significant sums of money in lost revenue for the Government. The Treasury estimates that one in 25 vehicles is untaxed and that unlicenced motorists cost taxpayers around £150m every year.

Wandsworth's cabinet member for regeneration and transport Cllr Kathy Tracey said: "Unfortunately there are large numbers of people who think they have the right to drive around in untaxed vehicles. Until now, they have stood a reasonable chance of getting away with it, because the enforcement process is under-resourced, overly-bureaucratic and time consuming.

"That is all about to change. We have devised a no-nonsense action plan in partnership with the DVLA which will cut through the red tape and get to the heart of a problem that costs taxpayers tens of millions of pounds a year. We have the resources, the staff and the will to ensure that untaxed vehicles don't become a burden on Wandsworth's roads."

The council will also remove unwanted vehicles for just £12, as long as the owner can offer proof of ownership and surrenders the licence documents.

Motorists who wish to take advantage of this removal service should telephone 020 8871 6709. Abandoned vehicles can also be reported on that number.

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