Standards in the UK’s vehicle recycling industry are improving but the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) can still do more to ensure that end of life vehicles (ELVs) do not escape official recycling statistics, according to vehicle recycling firm, Remove My Car.
The company cited the recent Scottish Cash Ban and revised European ELV recycling targets as significant improvements in the industry but argued that the DVLA should do more to clear confusion surrounding Certificates of Destruction (CODs) and V5C vehicle logbooks.
Around of 1.7 million cars are said to be scrapped in the UK each year, but the company claimed that 500,000 of these escape official statistics, and there are widespread concerns that these vehicles aren’t being recycled in line with environmental standards.
However, according to the recycler, there is every chance that these cars are being recycled properly, but the lack of an established audit trail means they are unaccounted for.
Steve Queen, managing director of Remove My Car, argued that by tightening up the recycling process and setting limits on how long a vehicle can remain in the trade, overall recycling figures will present a more realistic view of industry numbers.
The solution, according to Queen, lies in updating the logbook and bringing it more in line with the recent EU directive that dictates at least 95% of an End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) should be recycled.
“While it is great to see higher recycling targets for ELVs, there is still no specific section in the existing V5C logbook for vehicles that are recycled, and yet there is for exported vehicles,” he said.
“When a car is sent to be recycled there is no section in the V5C that acknowledges when, where and why it was recycled instead of salvaged or exported,” Queen continued. “By updating the logbook, the DVLA will have a clearer idea of where vehicles sold for scrap are in the recycling chain and we won’t have so many ‘ghost’ vehicles that have fallen off the radar.”
Remove My Car called for an updated logbook, and also questioned the high number of vehicles that are claimed to be escaping official figures.
According to the company, because of the outdated logbook, there is no way of knowing how long an ELV has remained in the trade. Stricter regulation from the DVLA it argued, would clear up just what justifies a recycled ELV, whose responsibility the COD is and just how many ELVs are being recycled according to environmental standards.
Reuben Symonds from Symonds Auto Salvage, one of Remove My Car’s nationwide network of ATFs, echoed Queen’s concerns that the 500,000 figure is inaccurate.
“No ATF (authorised treatment facility) can say that 100% of their cars are issued with COD's, unless they are doing extremely low volume. After all, we are all human, but this surely cannot amount to 500,000 cars?” he said.
“I’d challenge anyone to try and illegally scrap 500,000 cars each year, logistically it’d simply be impossible,” he continued. “The act of illegal scrapping conjures up images of underground scrap yards that are working outside the law, but these places just don’t exist these days.
“What you’ll find nowadays is that ATFs are incredibly cautious when it comes to the law, and some won’t take a car if there’s no logbook, even though they legally can do so with photo I.D and a recent utility Bill,” concluded Symonds.
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