ABANDONED cars are becoming less common thanks to the high prices of scrap metal.
Huddersfield scrap metal merchants have seen trade increase due to high premiums for metal in Asia.
It has led to fewer dumped cars on the borough’s roads, with more people selling their old cars for scrap.
From April 2006 to April 2007, there were 276 abandoned vehicles taken off the borough’s roads.
Last year to April 2008 there were 209.
Since April there have only been 21, which the council says is partly due to high scrap values and also due to a partnership arrangement with the police which produces a rapid response to complaints of abandoned vehicles.
Barrie Ellis, director at Albert Haigh and Son Breakdown and Recovery, who buys scrap metal, said: “Most of our scrap metal is going to Asia, China and India in particular, and because of demand the price is at a premium at the moment.
“People can get more money for scrap metal now than ever before. There’s a small fortune to be made.
“We get all types of cars coming in here for scrap.
“It could be people bring in an old car which has been sitting idle in the garage for years and they’ve never got round to doing it up.
“Or the car has too many bumps for it to be repaired, or it’s not likely to pass its MOT.
“Either way we are seeing more cars.”
Nationally, experts say that some dealers will pay up to £1,000 for old cars and vans, though many pay less.
The breakdown and car recovery business, on Firth Street, has seen a dip in trade over the past month which Mr Ellis puts down to the Beijing Olympics.
Chinese officials forced many Beijing factories to close in the weeks leading up to the games in a bid to clear the air of pollution.
That had a knock-on effect on scrap metal prices, cutting them by about 40%.
But Mr Ellis expects trade to pick up again once the factories reopen.
Cars are now so valuable that the number of vehicles abandoned each day in the UK has gone down from 800 to 200.
That still means more than 80,000 abandoned vehicles a year, but scrap metal merchants are seeing more through their doors.