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UK urged to pull plug on sub-standard ELV sites

United Kingdom – In the wake of a series of prosecutions of Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATF) operators, the Chairman of the UK Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association (MVDA), Dr Chas Ambrose, is urging the British government to make a more determined effort to root out non-compliant end-of-life sites.

Since late 2011, seven scrap vehicle firms were charged with failing to meet the ELV standards, resulting in fines of between US$ 1357 and US$ 6795 (Euro 1090-5462). They either did not achieve the minimum 85% reuse, recycle and recovery rate stipulated in the 2006 End-of-Life Directive, or failed to report their annual performance to the government.

The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has issued several guidance notes to the ATFs and sent warning letters to non-compliant facilities as it attempts to clamp down, but so far to no avail. It notes that requests for facilities to submit the required performance data have met with ‘€˜widespread and repeated failure’€™.

Dr Ambrose believes it is time for tougher action, but warned that with potentially more than 1000 non-compliant sites to deal with, this problem would not be resolved overnight. ‘€˜This is a massive issue across the industry. The few prosecutions that have taken place are just the tip of the iceberg,’€™ he told letsrecycle.com. He added that while that end-of-life legislation had already been in place for six years, it took until last year to start getting the courts involved.

He estimates there are about 1700 ATFs in the UK, of which at most 400 are currently sharing their information with the government. Dr Ambrose notes: ‘€˜The UK has failed to meet its ELV recycling target every year since it was imposed, and the 300 or 400 that have met the target have borne all of the costs, while the others have ignored it.’€™

The MVDA Chairman is confident that stiffer penalties will motivate sub-standard operators. ‘€˜The fines are only around US$ 7500 ‘€“ it is outrageous. Prosecutions should have happened a long time ago. BIS should have been considering legal action since 2007 but instead has dragged its heels,’€™ he said.

A BIS spokesman has responded: ‘€˜The Department for Business works closely with the automotive industry to reduce the impact of waste materials on the environment. In some instances businesses continually disregard their obligations, and as a result the government will take legal action to hold these businesses to account.’€™

For more information, visit: www.mvda.org.uk or www.bis.gov.uk

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