Roadside mechanics, body-work "men" and those occupying people’s property illegally, blocking roads, and storing and selling vehicles in parts, are a major cause of concern for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).

Senior Environmental Officer at the EPD, Trevor King, said there were a number of "hot spots" across the country which had to be cleared between three to five times a year because mechanics and those doing body work kept storing vehicles on these sites.

Among the "hot spots" identified by Mr. King were September Square, St. Matthias, Christ Church; Cox Road, Christ Church; and Roeuns Tenantry and the Pine, in St. Michael.

Mr. King explained that the EPD would remove derelict vehicles due to health concerns and unsightly situations, but within a week or so more vehicles would be placed on the lots once again by mechanics and auto body workers.

"There are people who are unable to pass freely or get into their driveways. If there is a fire or someone takes ill beyond where the operation is, emergency service vehicles cannot access the person. That is really a big challenge that we are confronted with," the Senior Environmental Officer pointed out.

He explained that when EPD officers visited such areas to remove vehicles the owners usually requested more time because they were selling the vehicles in parts. However, six months to over a year later, the vehicles were still there presenting a hazard, and becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes and rodents.

With respect to the cost of removal, he disclosed that, during the first three months of this year, the EPD had removed 562 vehicles at a cost of $77,194.80; and 1,406 vehicles for the whole of last year at a cost of $198,039.30.

"We remove cars every month or every two months, depending on the identification process," he said.

He added that the cost of removing a vehicle was often borne by the Government as it was often difficult to track down the true owners. For example, he pointed out that it costs $80 to remove a car with tyres or part thereof, $160 to remove a van, $350 to remove Hiace vehicles like ZR vans and $600 for buses or trucks.

Mr. King explained that buses and trucks were usually stripped and cut to acceptable sizes prior to removal.

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