A DUMPED car awaiting removal by St Albans District Council has been torched by arsonists.

The fire at Marshalswick on Sunday, September 9, destroyed the car and damaged nearby fencing.

Now the council has been attacked by residents and local councillor Tom Clegg for not moving the car sooner.

The car had been dumped in front of garages in Furse Avenue. Councillor Clegg, who lives in the road, said that he and other residents had complained to the council about it three weeks ago and were told it would be removed in a few days.

He said: "We warned the council this situation was a risk to residents' health and safety.

"That car sat there for two months and a great deal of time and expense could have been spared if they had removed it when they said they would.

"The fire brigade needs to concentrate on more important things."

In a previous statement to the Review, council client services manager Ian Wakelham said the car would be removed in the next few days or as soon as possible.

However, a council spokesman said on Monday: "The district is experiencing a sharp increase in the numbers of abandoned vehicles. There is currently a backlog of 100 cars which we are in the process of moving from residential streets and estates."

However, new procedures being introduced soon could mean the backlog of dumped cars waiting for removal will decrease.

The spokesman added: "A new system of procedures will be introduced from October 1 which will speed up the removal of dumped vehicles. We are offering motorists who want to scrap their old cars free removal from October 1, and for one month we will be waiving our normal collection fee of £30."

Councillor Clegg welcomed the news but said: "It's better late than never but for our situation it's too late."

"I am very angry. I feel as if I have let down the residents. Around 99 per cent of them really care about the environment where they live and I should be able to help. Residents will feel as if they have nowhere to turn if their concerns are not addressed."

In response to Councillor Clegg, a council spokesman said: "We always welcome the help and assistance of ward councillors but we have to act in a fair way. The vehicle in question was one of 100 our council team was investigating."