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Carmakers clash with Government on recycling deadline

British carmakers have accused the Government of threatening them with insolvency over proposed new laws from the European Commission governing vehicle recycling.

The Government has said it was minded to impose the regulations of End of Life Vehicles Directive, making manufacturers responsible for recycling their vehicles, up to five years before other European countries.

A Department of Trade and Industry consultation document said carmakers could bear the cost of taking back and recycling vehicles from 2002, compared with the deadline of 2007 laid down by the European Commission.

“We are both disappointed and angry that the government appears to have completely ignored the concerns of the UK's largest manufacturing sector” said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

“The French and German governments have made it clear that they intend to follow the letter of the directive, with manufacturers responsible for meeting cost-free take back of all cars on the road, no sooner than 2007. But this consultation seems to show that our government is content to burden manufacturers in this country further with a costly and totally impractical liability as soon as next year. The consultation does not say why and it just doesn't make any sense.”

The ELV Directive sets two target dates for manufacturers' liability'. In 2002, vehicle makers must meet a significant part of recycling costs of all new vehicles which the UK industry supports. In 2007 the directive says that this liability will extend to all vehicles on the road. SMMT has consistently urged the UK government to opt for a regime that reflects these target dates and imposes no greater cost burden on manufacturers here than in other European member states.

The DTI said no final decision had been reached. MG Rover has warned that its survival plan could be jeopardised if the legislation were imposed, without any recognition of its weakened position after its break-up by BMW.

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