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 – not when scrapping your car – although it is commonly mis-understood that you do.

A Certificate of Destruction is proof that the car ceases to exist. This is important to two people – the DVLA, and the car owner. When you scrap or salvage a car however, you will transfer ownership to the dealer who collects it. It is them who then destroy the car and will receive the Certficiate of Destruction.

It’s actually important that you do not request the COD – because some scrap dealers will not want to destroy the car right away. Some will salvage parts or even restore it. A car with this potential is worth more you and forcing it to be scrapped could reduce the price or the demand.

Whilst the Certificate of Destruction is not your responsibility – you must however transfer ownership to the scrap dealer. This is very important before you send you car off to the yard.

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 posted or completed online.

Read more: For more information on notifying the DVLA read our complete guide here.

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.

What other documents do I need to scrap my car?

While you don’t need a Certificate of Destruction to get the scrapping process started, there are a number of documents you’ll need to make sure you’ve got to hand to make the whole exercise as stress-free as possible, including, but not limited to:

  • Personal Identification
  • Proof of Address
  • V5C (logbook)

We’ve put together a more detailed breakdown of the documents you need to scrap your car here and if you already know you haven’t got the car’s logbook, then we’ve covered that, too!

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