In Parliament >> New life from old

20th June 2012

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  • Life Cycle Analysis



Chris Davies MEP asks why vehicle dismatlers in the UK are failing to meet EU recycling targets

With a mountain of two million old cars taken off UK roads each year, I’ve always thought the EU end-of-life vehicles Directive (2000/53/EC) a useful piece of legislation. Since 2006, it has required 85% of materials in discarded vehicles to be recycled – rising to 95% in 2015.

The target applies across the whole of the EU and so establishes a competitive, level playing field. It promotes producer responsibility and encourages manufacturers to design vehicles with components that can be recycled.

It’s a useful Directive, but its application is flawed. Perhaps only one-third of all old vehicles get recycled in line with the target.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK has failed to close all the loopholes that allow unauthorised vehicle dismantlers operating cash-in-hand to escape the regulatory requirements.

Of the 1,400 authorised dismantlers and authorised treatment facilities (ATFs) with proper depollution facilities, only 466 met the 85% recycling requirement in 2010, yet no sanctions have been applied against those that failed.

Crushed into metal cubes of scrap, old cars end up being transported to one of the 37 shredders around the country. Here, they get torn apart and should end up in neat piles of separated waste ready for recycling, but only 12 of the shredders can meet the 85% requirement and only three are equipped to meet the 95% target.

There is not the slightest sign that the UK government has given any thought as to how the 2015 target will be met, but the actions needed are clear enough.

The DVLA must be forced to close the loopholes. Non-compliant ATFs must be prosecuted, forcing them to cease using the shredders that have not invested in the necessary equipment.

Oh, and the European Commission must threaten to take the UK to the European Court of Justice. I will press them to do just that


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