Removal, storage and disposal of vehicles regulations: consultation

The consultation document seeks views on new level of charges applied to the removal, storage and disposal of vehicles in Scotland.

2. Introduction

2.1 This consultation document seeks views on changes to the Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles (Prescribed Sums and Charges etc.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2005 [1] and the Police (Retention and Disposal of Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 [2] . The aim of these changes will be to put in place revised charges that would apply when the police or local authorities invoke their legislative powers to remove, store or dispose of vehicles. The Scottish Government has prepared a draft set of charges, and these are set out in Annex E of this document.

2.2 The consultation document sets out the background to the current legislation covering powers to remove and store vehicles, and the charges that are applicable when doing so. The document also describes the factors taken into account by the Scottish Government when developing the new proposals and explains what the Government is seeking to achieve through them.

2.3 Under section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 ("the 1984 Act") and the Removal and Disposal of Vehicles Regulations 1986, the police have the power to remove vehicles that are illegally, obstructively, or dangerously parked, abandoned or broken down. The physical tasks of removal and subsequent disposal are carried out on behalf of the police by contracted recovery operators across Scotland as part of the Vehicle Recovery Scheme. The management of the Vehicle Recovery Scheme has been outsourced by Police Scotland to a managing agent as is currently the case in the majority of police forces across the UK.

2.4 Removals ordered by the police are necessary in order to enforce the law and to remove obstructions and potential dangers. They also help prevent theft of the vehicles, their use for criminal purposes, their becoming a focus for crime or environmental degradation and their being driven whilst in a dangerous condition (which may not be immediately apparent). In some cases the police may need to remove a vehicle for forensic examination.

2.5 The 1984 Act authorises the police to recover from the vehicle's owner (or other person responsible) such charges as may be prescribed for the removal, storage and disposal of the vehicle. Under the current Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles (Prescribed Sums and Charges etc.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2005 the current charges are: removal £150; storage £20 per day; disposal £150. These charges also apply to local authority powers under the 1984 Act to remove illegally parked vehicles. The charges have not been updated since 2005.

2.6 The police have separate powers under sections 126 and 127 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 ("the 2004 Act") to remove, store and dispose of vehicles being used in a manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance to the public. Charges are set out in the Police (Retention and Disposal of Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Regulations 2005. The current charge for removal is £105, and for storage £12 per day; there is no set charge for disposal.

2.7 The need for a review has arisen from the passage of time (involving both the effects of inflation and changes to the operational environment) as well as suggestions that the flat rate charges applying in respect of all vehicles, in all situations, in all parts of the country do not adequately reflect the different costs that may be incurred.

2.8 It is the Scottish Government's preferred position that the regulations should be similar in nature to the matrix system used in England & Wales since 2008. This matrix system is already used in Scotland when vehicles are seized for having no licence or insurance under section 165A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 ("the 1988 Act) [3] and it would in our opinion be appropriate to harmonise the regulations for all types of recoveries carried out in Scotland. It would also allow business owners operating on a UK wide basis some consistency when operating on a cross border basis.

2.9 This consultation focuses on possible changes in respect of statutory charges for vehicle removal, storage and disposal. It does not cover or seek to cover the circumstances in which the police use their power to order vehicle removal, or the way in which they use the power, or issues surrounding the operation of recovery schemes and contracts. These are matters for the police, in consultation with interested parties as they consider appropriate.

2.10 The consultation period will run for 12 weeks and conclude on the 6 th of August 2018.


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