Ministers seek views on 25 per cent rise in vehicle recovery charges

Scottish drivers could face a 25 per cent hike in the cost of having police recover their vehicles.

May 16, 2018
By Kevin Hearty
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The Scottish government is consulting on raising the minimum fee for breakdown recovery by police from £150 to £190.

Ministers claim that costs have not changed for more than ten years – but admitted they are not sure how operators’ charges may have risen over the period.

The proposals, announced on Tuesday (May 15), would bring the vehicle removal process in line with the one used in England and Wales.

In a joint statement, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson and Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “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 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.

“This public consultation is to allow adequate consideration to be given prior to regulations being laid before Parliament to introduce revised charges. We look forward to hearing your views.”

The Road Traffic Regulation Act empowers Police Scotland to remove vehicles that are dangerously or illegally parked, or ones that have been left abandoned or broken down.

The recovery process is carried out by outsourced operators across the country through the vehicle recovery scheme.

Current regulations allow the force to charge £150 fees for vehicle removal or disposal, and an additional £20 per day fee for storage.

These charges have not been updated since 2005.

The Scottish government is proposing introducing a matrix system similar to the one used in England and Wales since 2008.

This process is already used in Scotland when vehicles are seized for having no licence or insurance, and would increase the cost of recovering most vehicles to £190.

More difficult cases, such as those involving heavily damaged overturned vehicles that are not on a road, could see expenses rise from £300 to £380, with the heaviest vehicles subject to a £7,570 fee.

Ministers believe introducing this system for the majority of removals wold allow greater consistency during cross-border operations.

The consultation document warned that failing to increase charges could led to removal operators deciding to end their contracts with the police service.

However, aside from obvious increases in employee wages and fuel costs, the Scottish government acknowledged that the change in operators’ expenses since 2005 is uncertain.

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.”


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