ILLEGALLY parked cars can now be towed away by the council under new powers introduced across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

BCP Council will run a trial of their effectiveness until the end of September before deciding whether to make them permanent.

Cabinet member for transport, councillor Andy Hadley, said there was “no choice but to take action” in response to issues seen last month.

More than 1,000 parking fines were issued by the council over the two days at the end of June during which a major incident was called.

But concerns have been raised that the £40 charge is not enough of a deterrent for people willing to park illegally and about the difficulty in removing vehicles through police processes.

Conservative shadow cabinet member for tourism, councillor Phil Broadhead, said the council needed to be “no nonsense”.

“When people drive from a long way to come to the beach and find the car parks full or closed they don’t go home, they find somewhere else to park,” he said. “We need to make sure the enforcement is bang on.”

Speaking in the aftermath of the major incident declaration, council leader Vikki Slade confirmed “towaway zones” were being considered.

And the council has now introduced new enforcement measures which include the option for removing vehicles “where they are causing significant problems such as a dangerous hazard”.

Rather than introducing specific zones, which raised concerns that the issue would just be “pushed on to the next area” the powers can be used across the conurbation.

Any vehicle parked illegally, including; being on double yellow lines; blocking driveways and cycle lanes; being on verges; or being so close to a junction that sight lines are blocked, could be removed.

Retrieval of cars will be charged at the government-set £150 level with a £20 daily storage fee.

Cllr Hadley said: “This is a decision not taken lightly but as a result of the significant volume of illegally parked cars experienced, particularly at Sandbanks and Bournemouth seafront, we have no choice but to take action.

“I hope we rarely have to use the power and people instead choose to park responsibly but everyone should be aware we now have this option at our disposal if they choose otherwise.”

At the end of the trial in September, its effectiveness will be reviewed before a decision on whether to adopt them permanently will be made.