Motorists face inflation-busting cost increases when police remove cars

The M8 motorway is undergoing gantry refurbishment. Picture: SWNS
The M8 motorway is undergoing gantry refurbishment. Picture: SWNS
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Scots motorists face inflation-busting hikes of up to 25 per cent in the cost of having their vehicles removed by police if they’ve broken down or been involved in accident.

Plans for the hikes have been unveiled by ministers which would see the lowest current removal fee of £150 rise to £190.

Motors in more awkward situations to recover, such as after accidents, could see costs rise from £300 to £380.

Ministers say there hasn’t been a rise in ten years - but admit it is unclear to what extent operators’ costs have risen.

Scotland is poised to be brought into line with England and Wales where a “matrix” system applies and the Scottish Government says this would “harmonise” the system for businesses across the UK.

Police currently have the powers to remove a vehicle which has been parked illegally or is causing an obstruction and may pose a danger. They can also take action when the car has been abandoned or has broken down.

There were more than 16,000 recovered by police in such cases in Scotland last year, with a further 8,200 cars seized over the absence of a driving licence or insurance.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson says removals by the police are necessary in a “variety of situations” to enforce the law, in a joint forward to the consultation on the changes with environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

“In some cases the police may need to remove a vehicle for forensic examination,” it adds.

“The local authority may also require to remove vehicles in circumstances where vehicles have become abandoned or are parked in contravention with the law.

“The charges were last subject of a review in 2005 and since this time there have been inflationary and increased costs applied to this type of work.

“We feel it is now time to review the charges to ensure that they are fair both to those carrying out the recoveries and to those whose vehicles are being recovered.”

The current standard rate for a removal is £150 under the Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles regulations. Cars can also be seized at a cost of £105 to owners if it is being used in an anti-social manner. Under the charges set out by ministers for a “matrix” system this would rise to £190. If a car is off the road and damaged in an accident, costs will rise from £300 at the moment to £380 under the proposals.

The report adds: “The Scottish Government takes the view that the charges should not be punitive or an income generator for the police, but should be set at such a level as to make removal operations viable. An increase in charges to some degree is necessary because otherwise it is likely to become uneconomic for contractors to continue these operations.”