Signing paperwork

The Certificate of Destruction

Despite how long Certificates of Destruction have been around there’s still a lot of confusion about what the document is and when it’s needed. So we have created this page to help clear that confusion and to offer a comprehensive guide on what the Certificate of Destruction document is, and if and when you will need one.

A crushed car being lifted on to pile of other crushed cars in scrap yard

What Is A Certificate Of Destruction?

A certificate of Destruction (often referred to as a COD for short) is a document which has been issued by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) when they have destroyed and recycled a vehicle. Certificates of Destruction are issued to Authorised Treatment Facilities because they are the only organisations who are licensed and approved to process the depollution, dismantlement and disposal of scrap cars under the End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003.

All Destruction Certificates are issued for no charge however, you may be charged for scrapping the vehicle (unless you use our service!) Once a vehicle has been recycled the Authorised Treatment Facility will electronically submit the information to the DVLA to let them know that the vehicle has been destroyed and the DVLA will issue the Certificate of Destruction.

When Is A Certificate Of Destruction Issued And Who Is It Issued To?

A Certificate of Destruction is issued each time an Authorised Treatment Facility recycles a car as scrap. This is only when a vehicle has been depolluted, dismantled and the car recycled into reusable materials with the metal frame being destroyed and sent to a metal mill, and not when a vehicle has only been dismantled for salvageable parts.

The Certificate of Destruction is usually issued within 7 days and will be issued to the vehicle’s last owner prior to destruction. This is often where many people get confused as many people who sell their vehicle to an Authorised Treatment Facility (or scrap yard) assume that they were the last owner and as a result should receive a Certificate of Destruction. But whilst this is theoretically true, many people won’t receive a Certificate of Destruction as an Authorised Treatment Facility may not scrap the car straight away, or they may resell the vehicle, which means that the person who took the vehicle to the ATF in the first pace, is no longer the last owner and so they won’t receive a Certificate of Destruction.

Do I Need A Certificate Of Destruction?

No. Many people believe that you do however, Certificates of Destruction are only actually in place as a way to let the DVLA, and the owner of the vehicle, know when that car is to be scrapped and ceases to exist. Certificates of Destruction are not always required, and the important thing to remember when selling a vehicle, is that you transfer the registered keeper’s details out of your name and into the name of the new owner. You can transfer the ownership of the vehicle by requesting a Certificate of Destruction when you sell the vehicle. However, by doing this you are insisting that the vehicle is destroyed and consequently, you will prevent any buyers from being able to buy it as salvage or resell it. If you request for a Certificate of Destruction to be issued and for your vehicle to be destroyed it can reduce the price that buyers are willing to pay, especially if you are selling a vehicle which is repairable by specialists.

If you do not mind whether the vehicle is purchased for scrap, or for salvage then you do not need to worry about the Certificate of Destruction. The only thing you need to be certain of when you sell a vehicle is that the ownership has changed from your name, to the person or company whom are buying your vehicle. In order to do this you will need to notify the DVLA of the change of ownership, which can be done by completing section 9 of the vehicle’s V5C. Once the V5C has been completed simply ensure that’s it’s signed and post if off to the DVLA at: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR.

This step cannot be missed when selling a vehicle and is incredibly important as once the form is completed it passes all liability regarding the vehicle to the new buyer effective from the date of transfer. This means that if the new owner gets a speeding fine or parking ticket, you won’t have to pay it as you’ll no longer be responsible for the vehicle. By choosing to do it this way, and not requesting a Certificate of Destruction, you will not limit the sale of the vehicle to scrap and therefore you will not limit the monetary value that you might receive for your vehicle.

Should I Worry If I Didn’t Receive A Certificate Of Destruction?

If you are certain that your vehicle was taken to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) to be dismantled and destroyed and you did not receive a Certificate of Destruction to state this you shouldn’t worry. It may be that the ATF hasn’t gotten around to dismantling and destroying your vehicle yet, or it may mean that the ATF sold it on. Certificates of Destruction can either be collected in person (depending on the ATF) or they will post it out to you which usually takes around 7 days to come through from the point of destruction. If you know that your vehicle was destroyed and recycled but have still not received the Certificate of Destruction you can fill in section 3 of your V5c “Selling or transferring your vehicle to a motor trader, insurer or dismantler” however, if you completed section 9 of your V5C this is not required.

Regardless of which section has been completed, once you have completed your V5c and sent it off you should receive a letter from the DVLA soon after stating that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle. If you do not receive this within 20 days of sending the V5c off you can contact the DVLA on 0870 240 0010 or if you have a hearing impairment then they also have a text phone which can be reached on 01792 766426.

What Do I Do With A Certificate Of Destruction?

Once you have your Certificate of Destruction you are no longer responsible for the vehicle, even if it has not been destroyed and so you should keep the certificate as proof that you no longer have ownership of, or responsibility for, the vehicle. The Certificate of Destruction will hold details of the following:

  • Your name.
  • Your address.
  • Your nationality.
  • Your signature.
  • Details of the vehicle.
  • Details of the Authorised Treatment Facility and the Environment Licensing Authority who issued the ATF’s license.

What Happens If I Lose My Certificate Of Destruction?

Once a certificate has been lost it cannot be replaced as you cannot get copies of the certificate. However, you can get a letter which holds confirmation that a Certificate of Destruction was issued for the vehicle which you owned from the government by requesting the V888 which is a ‘request by an individual for information about a vehicle’.

What Do I Do If My Vehicle is Scrapped In A Country Different Than Its Origin?

If you are scrapping a vehicle in England which is not registered to the UK you will need to ensure that you keep the registration document and the Certificate Of Destruction and send it to the relevant authority in the country where the vehicle is registered.

If you are scrapping a vehicle in another country which is registered to the UK then you will need to ensure that you keep the V5C and do not hand it over to foreign authorities. You will need to keep the foreign Certificate of Destruction and complete section 6 on your V5C ensuring you tick the ‘Scrap’ box. Once this has been done you will need to send it to the DVLA at: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR. If you have lost your V5c you can write to the DVLA at the same address to let them know.

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