How do ex-pats living in Spain get away with using their UK-registered cars on Spanish roads?

This is a subject that really irks me. I spend a lot of time in the Canary Islands and mainland Spain. It is not an uncommon sight to see UK-registered vehicles being driven openly on Spanish roads. Some of the people have legally imported their vehicle into Spain and registered it, which is where my tale of woe starts.

It is the British who use their car on a British plates, but have not registered it with the Spanish authorities that make me mad. I know of several who brought their car out some years ago and have never matriculated them. The DVLA is not interested and getting the Spanish authorities to do something - well it would be quicker to watch paint dry. I contacted DVLA and they were not interested but my idea is simple.

They could send officers out to Spain; note the details of the British registered car. Then send the last registered owner a demand for the back tax. The owner would have to explain why their vehicle is being used on EU roads untaxed and without a current ITV (MoT). What do you think? After all the people concerned are stealing road fund licence from you, me and everyone else who pays it.

Asked on 4 June 2011 by AA, via email

Answered by Honest John
The DVLA will not do this because the 'offence' is being committed on Spanish roads. But if these people ever got a pull from the Guardia Civil traffic police (which is increasingly likely these days with such things as speed limited main road junctions), then they could be in serious trouble. There's nothing to stop you photographing the offending cars whenever you see them. As from 20 June 2011 they could then be prosecuted for running a car on public roads without 'continuous insurance', which is now a much more serious offence than running a car untaxed. If they have not declared a SORN, as from 20 June, their last known keeper's address will receive a summons for keeping a car without insurance and upon conviction (in their absence) the miscreants might find it difficult to return to the UK.
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