Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Policy Casework and Advice
Policy and External Communications Directorate
Stephen P Simmons
27 May 2010
Dear Mr Simmons,
Thank you for your email of 13 May about foreign motor vehicle registrations to the Driver
and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). I note that you have submitted your request under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Freedom of Information Act gives people a right
to access non-personal information held by public authorities. The information you have
requested falls within the Agency’s day to day business, therefore, your request is
subsequently being treated as ‘Business as Usual’.
Without the registration mark of the vehicle that was clamped I am unable to make any
comment on the specific details of the case. However, I can confirm that the law provides the
facility to keep an unlicensed vehicle off the public road whilst a valid (Statutory Off Road
Notification) SORN is in force. The definition of a public road is a road which is repairable at
the public expense.
The purpose of the SORN scheme is to improve the accuracy of the vehicle register and to
reduce VED evasion by removing the “do nothing option”. Declarations must be renewed
annually to ensure that a keeper of a vehicle has contact with the Agency at least once a year
so that any changes to vehicle or keeper details can be recorded on our records.
It may help if I explain that powers to wheel clamp and remove unlicensed vehicles on the
road have been in use since 1997. New powers were introduced in the 2008 Finance Act that
make it an offence to use or keep untaxed vehicles in off-road areas, however these powers
can only be used by the Agency’s enforcement partners if there is no SORN is in force.
The facility to keep a vehicle off-road with a valid SORN in force was preserved in its
entirety. If however, a vehicle is parked on an area that does form part of the public road
with a SORN in force, an offence would be committed and enforcement action could then be
taken by the Agency.
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It is inevitable that some individuals will have difficulties in obtaining off road parking for
vehicles whilst a SORN is in force. However, the onus remains with the registered keeper to
make alternative parking arrangements for the duration of the SORN. Should keepers wish to
clarify the status of any particular road or area, they should contact their Local Authorities in
order to discuss the area concerned.
I hope this explains the position.
(Sent unsigned via email)
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