Car industry calls for tighter regulation on ELVs

The car industry has called upon the government to increase the enforcement of regulations around the recycling of end of life vehicles (ELVs), after claiming that many cars are being recycled through non-compliant routes.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – SMMT – issued the call in its 2017 Sustainability Report, which was published during the organisation’s International Automotive Summit which took place in London last week (June 20).

Under the EU’s End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive, cars and vans weighing up to 3.5-tonnes must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way when they reach the end of life – with the process paid for by the manufacturers of the vehicles through schemes such as CarTakeBack.

ELVs pile
The SMMT has concerns about the issuing of certificates of destruction issued for ELVs

Vehicles entering scrap yards which are licensed under the ELV regulations are issued with a certificate of destruction (CoD) – the legal document proving that a vehicle has been scrapped.

CoDs are required to be passed to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – which runs the national vehicle database – in order to verify that a vehicle has been dismantled.

However, SMMT has claimed that there is a ‘large percentage’ of ELVs for which CoDs are not being issued.


In the past, ELV recyclers have claimed that lax enforcement of ELV regulations is a disadvantage for fully licensed sites, which are faced with higher operating costs than illegal operators, who can consequently offer a higher price to people selling vehicles (see story ).

In its report, SMMT said: “While there are no official figures, industry analysis has shown that every year there is a large percentage of ELVs believed to have been scrapped but which are unaccounted for. The likelihood is that they have been unofficially scrapped, while being marked as “disposed into trade”.

“To address this issue, industry has entered into discussions with Defra and DVLA to try to eliminate alternative ways of scrapping an ELV other than via a CoD, and would welcome further government effort to expedite this matter.”


The organisation also warned that there is a ‘large network’ of unlicensed operators capturing ELVs for the value of their scrap metals, which may be carrying out legally required depollution operations.

It added that failure to enforce the regulations could undermine investment made by many ELV recyclers to help meet the 95% by 2015 ELV recovery target.

SMMT said: “The long-term viability of these investments requires high volumes of vehicles going through the system, and this process is being undermined by the increasing numbers of vehicles being processed outside of the manufacturers network, where non-compliant processes may be evident.”

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