Following the release of figures which showed that the UK surpassed the 95% target rate for End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) last week, the work of the industry has been praised but there are warnings of a more challenging climate going forward.
The latest figures by the European Commission, showed that the UK’s performance in 2015 rose by a record amount to an overall recovery and reuse rate of 96.9% in 2015, up from 90.7% in 2014. This figure is higher than recorded by Germany, France, Norway and Sweden. Six countries were above the UK including Croatia with 99% and both Poland and Luxembourg on 97%. Italy was the lowest recorded with 84% (see letsrecycle.com story).
Howard Bluck, technical director of British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), commented: “The BMRA is delighted that the UK exceeded its 2015 ELV recycling and recovery targets. It highlights the positive efforts and investments made by the ELV treatment sector to meet these challenging targets.”
The 2015 figures, which are the latest available as the data takes two years to be processed, came into effect before shredder research showed the average weight of a car had increased to 1,100kg, up from 981kg in 2014. This would make achieving a 95% target more difficult under a weight based system.
In light of this research and ongoing discussion of standardisation of data, Mr Bluck said future targets might be more challenging to meet.
“We are less confident about whether the UK will continue to achieve these targets,” he warned.
Mr Bluck added: “Early indications appear to suggest we may struggle to achieve the 95% overall target for 2016, but by how much, we cannot say. To help ensure consistency in data reporting BMRA, through its involvement with Defra’s ELV Consultation Group, is working to standardise the way in which shredder operators provide evidence of shredder residue recycling and recovery to ATFs.”
The European Commission set its ELV rules through the 2000 Directive on end-of-life vehicles requiring member states to introduce systems to ensure that the targets were attained. These were to reach 85% by 2006 and 95% for 2015, which were met this month.
“I am surprised but pleased,” explained Dr Chas Ambrose of the Vehicle Recyclers’ Association.
He added: “I think it is positive and shows there is movement. We don’t know exactly how these figures are met as it is hidden behind company confidentiality but I know many have been working hard on it for several years, so it comes as good news.”
Dr Ambrose however echoed the views of the BMRA, explaining that he is doubtful the UK will be able to maintain this level going in to 2016.
“ It is a good result but it will be challenging going forward and it will be interesting to see if the 2016 target will be met. The Government needs to apply pressure to the shredder operators which are not investing in post-shredder technology. The government has to take responsibility if it goes backwards. Scrap metal yards can’t meet the target alone and it has to be done post-shredder. I just hope the government are not banking on lower targets post-Brexit.”