Motor industry offers win-win deal on scrap car rules

23 October 2001 #SMMT News

Details of a groundbreaking new approach to recycling cars

were presented to the Trade and Industry Select Committee today by Christopher

Macgowan, SMMT chief executive. A doomsday scenario of huge financial costs

threatening the economic future of vehicle manufacturers could be avoided if

this innovative new programme is adopted.

Car makers and consumers have been waiting for the UK government

to decide how the European rules on the End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive

will be implemented when they come into force next year.

‘The motor industry clearly accepts its environmental responsibilities

for its products and this can be seen by the high level of recyclability and

reusable content of modern cars. The challenge is to ensure that there is effective

accountability for older vehicles. We have created the following proposals which

could work for all consumer goods likely to face similar issues, such as electrical


  1. Vehicle owners deliver the vehicle to a dismantler or shredder.

    This responsibility to be enforced through an effective system of end-user

    certificate with the DVLA.
  2. Dismantlers would be given the choice to accept or reject

    the vehicle, but once accepted it would become their responsibility.
  3. Shredders would be required to accept any vehicle, and

    take the added financial benefit from the materials extracted. After 2007,

    if the shredding industry were to be in deficit, vehicle manufacturers would

    organise free take back of the vehicles
  4. An independent third party would assess the extent of any


This dramatic new development offers clear benefits to all

parties involved:

a) Requires the owner of the vehicle to be responsible for

their car and not simply abandon it for others to pick up the cost.

b) Leaves the specialist task of recycling and shredding vehicles

to the experts who are already structured to carry out this operation.

c) Removes the crippling financial burden from the balance

sheets of manufacturers that threatened their economic viability.

d) Is a clear and effective scheme, which can be replicated

across other sectors, that will also need to address recycling issues.

e) Offers free take-back of vehicles from 2002.

Notes to editors:

  1. In a report called Who’s milking the motor car? SMMT showed

    that the government gained most income from an average car throughout its

    nine-year life. 23 per cent of the £50,000 generated by the car was taken

    by the treasury. Its sale new accounted for just 16 per cent, equal to the

    take from finance houses and insurance companies during its time on the road.

  2. The ELV Directive sets two target dates for manufacturers.

    In 2002 manufacturers will be made to pay a significant part of recycling

    costs of all new vehicles. In 2007 the liability will extend to all vehicles

    in the parc. The UK government has not confirmed whether or not it intends

    to follow this text or impose stricter targets for manufacturers in this country.

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