Removing abandoned shopping trolleys: council powers

How councils can deal with abandoned shopping and luggage trolleys, including who to consult, disposal and claiming costs.

If you’re a council, you can generally remove shopping and luggage trolleys abandoned on land or waterway in the open air.

This doesn’t apply to power-assisted trolleys.

Land you can’t remove trolleys from

You can’t remove trolleys if any of the following apply to the land:

  • it’s owned by the trolley owner
  • it’s used for trolley storage
  • it’s used for transport where luggage trolleys are provided
  • it’s used for off-street parking and there are facilities for shoppers to leave their trolleys in the parking area

Removing trolleys from water

You should use specialist contractors and liaise with the Environment Agency to remove trolleys from rivers and waterways.

You should contact the Canals and Rivers Trust about trolleys found in their inland waterways.

Removing trolleys from private land

You must ask permission from landowners or occupiers before removing trolleys from private land.

If they don’t give you permission, you can serve a notice stating that you intend to remove the trolley.

If no objection is received, you can remove the trolley 14 days after notice is served.

Contacting trolley owners

If you can identify trolley owners, you must give them notice to claim any trolleys you’ve removed.

This notice must state all of the following:

  • that you’ve removed the trolley and are keeping it
  • where you’re keeping it
  • that you may dispose of the trolley if they don’t claim it

You must deliver the trolley to its owner if they claim it and they pay all costs within 6 weeks.

If the owner doesn’t pay, you don’t have to return the trolley.

Disposing of trolleys

You must keep trolleys for 6 weeks after removing them. If you’ve tried to find the owner and they’ve not claimed the trolleys in this time, you can sell or dispose of them.

Claiming costs

You can claim the costs of removal, storage and disposal from trolley owners. You must review your charges each year to make sure they cover these costs.

Trolley collection schemes

You can agree a scheme with business owners in your area to make sure they collect their trolleys. You can’t claim any costs associated with removing, storing or disposing of trolleys if the trolley owners are part of such a scheme.

Before you start removing trolleys

Before you start removing trolleys, you must:

  • consult people affected (or their representatives)
  • formally adopt the powers
  • leave at least 3 months between making the decision to adopt the powers to remove abandoned trolleys and those powers coming into effect
  • announce in at least 1 local newspaper that you will now be removing abandoned trolleys, once the powers have come into effect

You must then consult the people affected from time to time about how you’re using the powers.

You can end your powers to remove abandoned trolleys at any time.

Who you need to consult

You must consult people who’ll be affected before you start removing trolleys and from time to time. This usually includes:

  • local retailers who offer trolleys
  • representative bodies, for example, the British Retail Consortium, the Association of Town Centre Management and the Association of Convenience Stores
  • local residents
  • rail, tram, road transport or airport operators who provide trolleys
  • local police
  • the Environment Agency
Published 26 March 2015