New figures released by the Local Government Association (LGA) show that councils across England have seen a 72% drop in the number of abandoned vehicles.
An LGA survey shows that on average councils moved 800 cars every day in 2003, but this year the number has fallen to 225.
Council leaders say that a combination of tough enforcement by local authorities cracking down on abandoned cars, new rules deterring would-be car dumpers and high scrap metal prices have all led to a massive drop in the number of wrecks being left on the streets.
LGA chairman Councillor Paul Bettison said: A triple whammy of cracking down on would-be dumpers, quicker clearing up by councils and soaring metal prices are helping to win the battle against unsightly old bangers being left on our streets. People tell us that these eyesores make them feel unsafe in their own neighbourhood and figures like these show councils up and down the country are working hard to make people feel safe and secure.
A few years ago, youd have had to pay someone to take your old car away but now, scrap metal dealers will pay you up to £1,000 for the pleasure. This has definitely helped the situation but councils are also playing an important role. Theyve listened to the concerns of local people and reacted accordingly.
An LGA spokesman added: "It's doubtful whether councils are actually making any extra money because of this as they still have to cover the cost of picking up these wrecks in the first place. Also, a major reason for the drop in abandoned cars is because people are getting rid of them themselves, so there are actually less cars for the council to pick up anyway."
The British Metals Recycling Association director Lindsay Millington said she welcomed the surveys findings. She said: This is real, concrete evidence that more and more end-of-life vehicles are being properly recycled, year on year, in every region of the country. The European End-of-Life Vehicles Directive, implemented in the UK in 2003, has ensured that there are now authorised treatment facilities (ATF) throughout the UK, many of which are BMRA members.
ATFs not only depollute the vehicle to remove environmentally hazardous materials, but also make sure that metals and other materials are recycled. On average, 75% of a car is metal, and all of this will be re-melted to make high quality new metal. So there is no longer any excuse to abandon an unwanted vehicle and taking your old car to a licensed site will ensure real benefits to the environment.