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SMMT presents solution to 'doomsday' scrappage laws

Car makers have presented their proposals on how the industry should meet the demands of European legislation aimed at reducing the number of illegally dumped cars.

Yesterday the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders presented what it sees as a groundbreaking new approach to recycling cars to the Trade and Industry Select Committee.

Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive, said that its proposals would avert the 'doomsday scenario' of huge financial costs threatening the economic future of vehicle manufacturers.

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,” Mr Macgowan said.

The SMMT put forward the following proposals:

  • 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
  • Dismantlers would be given the choice to accept or reject the vehicle, but once accepted it would become their responsibilit
  • 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
  • An independent third party would assess the extent of any deficit.

    The benefits, the SMMT says, are that the owner of the vehicle would be responsible for their car and not simply abandon it for others to pick up the cost and the specialist task of recycling and shredding vehicles would be left to experts who are already structured to carry out this operation. It also removes the financial burden facing manufacturers that, a number have said threatened their economic viability. Mitsubishi Motors UK estimated scrappage legislation will cost the company £4m in the first year.

    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. It has said, however, that is proposing to introduce the rules next year instead of 2007, the timetable suggested by the EC.

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