GOSPORT MP Peter Viggers has warned that the Hampshire area faces a growing abandoned cars menace.

He said the number of abandoned cars being dumped in the county was soaring, and claimed it would worsen because of European legislation.

He is raising the issue in Parliament.

He pointed out that an independent report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy stated that new EU directives and government inaction would result in 250,000 more cars being abandoned each year, equivalent to an extra 380 cars per Parliamentary constituency.

An estimated 350,000 cars, an average of 530 per constituency, were already dumped each year.

Said Mr Viggers: "It is not just violent crime that is soaring, but now our streets are getting dirtier and more dangerous. We already knew that the number of burnt-out cars across Hampshire has soared by 59.3 per cent from 1997 to 2000 and this new report predicts the problem is going to get even worse.

"European directives signed by Labour are to force the cost of car disposal to soar - a bill which is going to be met by car owners and council tax payers.

"Badly drafted regulations supposed to help the environment will end up worsening urban decay.

"I have had a number of complaints from constituents over recent months and believe the issue is part of the wider problem of crime which has to be addressed, from getting more police officers on the streets to tackling smaller-scale, quality-of-life nuisances."

He stressed abandoned cars were hazardous for children and encouraged more vandalism and crime.

He added: "Instead of increasing the cost to the taxpayer, alternatives should be investigated, with the government and local authorities assisting people who wish to get rid of their cars without requiring them to met a heavy cost.

"This would remove the need for cars to be abandoned at the roadside and would alleviate the problem."