UK’s Biggest Car Graveyards

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A car may be registered SORN for a number of reasons, maybe because it failed its MOT and the owner can’t afford the repairs, or perhaps the owner needs to scrap the car but hasn’t got round to it.

SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) is what a person needs to apply for when they take a vehicle ‘off the road’ and they want to stop taxing and insuring it. A vehicle can be “off the road” if the car is not kept on or used on a public road, for example if it’s in a garage, on a drive or on private land.

Graphic of the UK's Biggest Car Graveyards

In the UK there are more than two million SORNed cars just lying around. We at National Scrap Car have conducted a study to find out where in the UK has the most “dead” cars and have used our internal data to find out the average offer for scrap cars in each location to discover the sitting scrap value of these SORN cars in the UK.

When looking at all districts in the UK, Forest Heath in the east takes the title of the biggest UK car graveyard with 301.8 SORN cars per 10k people, and with an average scrap value of £282.91 per car, this means there is approximately £1,535,918.39 in sitting scrap value in this UK district.

Second place is also in the east of England, Fenland. This area has 290.5 SORN cars per 10k residents and £3,065,930.96 in sitting scrap value based on an average scrap quote of £259.01 in this area. And in third, South Holland in the East Midlands. This district had 249 cars per 10k and £2,072,835.27 in scrap value overall.

In total there is an estimated £712,135,661.19 in scrap value from all the SORN cars in the UK. Of course, not all of these cars need to be scrapped and may be off road for other reasons, but there are still potentially millions to be made and during the cost of living crisis, a little extra money can go a long way.

Red scrap car dumped by road

The 25 top towns/cities/borough car graveyards

Further analysis was conducted to find the individual towns, cities and boroughs that had the most SORN cars per 10k people and the average scrap value in those areas.

At the top of the list was Lincolnshire town, Boston. This town has 245.8 SORN cars per 10k people with a sitting scrap value of £1,793,823 based on the average scrap value in the area being £233.75.

In second place was Omagh in Northern Ireland with 198.58 SORN cars per 10k and a sitting scrap value of £2,762,966 based on the £256.40 average scrap value in the area.

In third place is another Northern Ireland town, Strabane. With 196.60 SORN cars per 10k and a total scrap value of £1,699,299.49 based on an average scrap value of £258.37.

It appeared as though rural areas in the UK are more likely to have a higher number of SORN cars per person, potentially due to the cities and urban areas having access to more public transport, less parking spaces in residential areas and more flats/apartments, giving a denser population.

Top 25 Scrap Car locations by population

Rank Towns/Cities/Boroughs UK Region SORN cars per 10k Average Scrap Value Sitting scrap value total
1 Boston East Midlands 245.8 £233.75 £1,793,823.08
2 Omagh Northern Ireland 198.58 £256.40 £2,762,966.40
3 Strabane Northern Ireland 196.6 £258.37 £1,699,299.49
4 Armagh Northern Ireland 194.11 £286.32 £2,535,363.60
5 Slough South East 192.93 £274.23 £915,928.20
6 Maldon East of England 177.75 £254.29 £943,651.64
7 Corby East Midlands 162 £260.96 £1,033,381.80
8 Cherwell South East 156.7 £266.43 £2,603,245.65
9 Barking and Dagenham London 153.93 £300.34 £3,458,738.47
10 Daventry East Midlands 151.83 £255.00 £2,670,562.64
11 Stratford-on-Avon West Midlands 150.27 £270.49 £1,682,971.00
12 Peterborough East of England 148.94 £255.76 £3,013,639.72
13 Harrow London 146.29 £290.93 £5,331,795.57
14 Luton East of England 146.05 £266.39 £3,049,632.72
15 Bedford East of England 138.46 £259.86 £3,220,149.71
16 Rugby West Midlands 138.24 £258.08 £1,376,856.80
17 Maidstone South East 137.2 £247.88 £2,561,326.82
18 Wellingborough East Midlands 137.2 £249.16 £1,082,849.36
19 Wolverhampton West Midlands 137.19 £297.44 £5,920,261.07
20 Bolsover East Midlands 136.9 £270.69 £754,142.34
21 Lincoln East Midlands 135.9 £203.11 £2,321,509.20
22 Hillingdon London 131.57 £294.37 £3,638,762.51
23 Sevenoaks South East 130.56 £246.04 £1,425,319.38
24 Ballymena Northern Ireland 130.35 £270.08 £2,844,787.75
25 Down Northern Ireland 129.66 £261.66 £2,389,217.46

20 UK locations with the most potential scrap value

The locations that had the most to make from scrapping their SORN cars were Birmingham with nearly £14m in approximate scrap value, Leicester with £9.1m and Staffordshire with £8m.

Rank Region UK Region Average Scrap Value SORN cars per 10k Sitting scrap value total
1 Birmingham West Midlands £274.88 118.05 £13,985,333.08
2 Leicester East Midlands £264.00 107.64 £9,151,910.67
3 Staffordshire West Midlands £253.94 114.93 £8,044,683.43
4 Norfolk East of England £217.23 133.88 £7,766,945.22
5 Leeds Yorkshire and The Humber £270.54 73.98 £6,519,219.59
6 Cornwall South West £168.11 163.35 £6,319,094.09
7 Wolverhampton West Midlands £297.44 137.19 £5,920,261.07
8 Shropshire West Midlands £234.45 190.55 £5,896,132.75
9 Hampshire South East £258.46 75.17 £5,823,620.72
10 Enfield London £323.97 115.01 £5,666,314.80
11 Bradford Yorkshire and The Humber £279.87 98.86 £5,432,537.16
12 Harrow London £290.93 146.29 £5,331,795.57
13 Dudley West Midlands £276.06 122.12 £4,941,696.36
14 County Durham North East £228.06 96.49 £4,765,074.64
15 Carmarthenshire Wales £224.84 109.16 £4,590,796.73
16 Barnet London £292.00 117 £4,581,109.56
17 Doncaster Yorkshire and The Humber £256.09 123.06 £4,572,811.72
18 Cheshire East North West £232.48 128.9 £4,566,544.20
19 Newry and Mourne Northern Ireland £264.73 162.72 £4,436,526.28
20 Kirklees Yorkshire and The Humber £267.81 92.66 £4,321,917.78

How to register your car as off the road (SORN)?

First you need to ensure that the address is correct in your log book. If not then you will need to change this first.

Secondly, decide what date you want your vehicle to be registered as off road. It can either be immediately, in which case you will need to use the 11-digit number on your vehicle log book (V5C) to take the vehicle off the road immediately. Or you can choose for it to be on the first day of next month.  In this case you will need to use the 16-digit number on your vehicle tax reminder letter (V11), but beware,  you can only use this number once.
Next visit and apply to register your vehicle as off the road.

If you need more details, take a look at our how to SORN a Car guide or our how to SORN a motorbike guide.

Scrap cars in field

What do you need to scrap your car?

If however you would rather scrap your car, or decide to scrap it after it has been registered as SORN for a while, then you can get an instant scrap quote by entering your postcode and licence plate number. You can then compare the scrap quotes and choose the best deal for you.

To learn more about the process you can visit our guide onsite: how to scrap my car.

Scrap ford car


National Scrap Car used’s Vehicle licensing statistics data tables (Vehicles with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) at the end of the quarter by postcode district and body type: Great Britain and United Kingdom) to discover the number of SORN cars per postcode. Due to the differing sizes of the locations, population figures were used to determine how many SORN cars there were per 10k people in those areas.

National Scrap Car then used its own internal data of over 50,000 scrap quotes across the country for 2021 to get the average scrap value in each location to work out the sitting scrap value.