There has been a call to the government from ‘end-of-life vehicle’ (ELV) recyclers asking them to act to introduce much tougher enforcement laws surrounding car scrappage. It is claimed that between 500,000 and 800,000 vehicles are illegally scrapped every year in the UK and that slack application of ELV regulations is leaving fully licensed sites at a competitive disadvantage.
Fully certified ELV recyclers face much higher operating costs compared to illegal operators, who are then left in a position where they can offer higher prices to motorists looking to sell their vehicles.
It is also claimed that the legal document proving that a vehicle has been scrapped, Certificates of Destruction (CoDs), are not being issued for a huge number of cars that are being taken to scrap yards. CoDs are meant to be issued to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) so they can validate that a vehicle has been scrapped and is off our roads.
Chairperson of the Motor Vehicles Dismantlers Association (MVDA), Dr Chas Ambrose, is furious that legal operators are being let down by a lack of enforced regulation and believes the government do not want to do anything about it.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is accountable for making sure that the UK meets ELV recycling targets, but vehicle recyclers claim it is near impossible to lobby for changes to the system because responsibility is spread across a number of government departments.
A spokesperson for BIS said that the work to combat the scrapping of vehicles illegally is ongoing with measures to improve the CoD process being looked at. The government is also looking at a variety of ELV enforcement activities, which has included the Environment Agency stopping unlawful scrapping at 227 sites during 2012 and 2013. BIS has also said that the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 introduced tougher recording of information requirements and a ban on cash payments when vehicles are scrapped.
Keith Freegard, a director of Axion Polymers who operate an advanced shredder waste processing plant in Manchester, wants to see stronger enforcement of legislation to ensure that Certificates of Destruction are being issued on every vehicle that is scrapped. He believes this would ensure that accurate data on the number of vehicles going to de-pollution centres and being processed properly will be known, as well as how many unfit cars are being left on the roads.
Demands are also being made for car manufacturers to be far more involved with the ELV process, with Mr Freegard wanting to see greater incentives for manufacturers to use recycled materials in new vehicles. He argues that this would make them much more interested in the overall scrapping process and that with the booming UK car industry swallowing up resources, there needs to be more attention given to responsibility for materials at end-of-life, to deliver the 2015 recycling target.