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Agency warns of tyre dump mountains

The Government has released a consultation document aimed at making tyre producers, retailers and fitters responsible for ensuring the reuse and recovery of used tyres. From 2003, the EU Landfill Directive will phase out the cheap disposal of whole used tyres to landfill; using this method for shredded tyres will be forbidden from 2006.

Companies will have a legal duty of care to ensure old tyres are not dumped, but the Environment Agency fears the countryside could be swamped by dumped tyres. It claims around 80 per cent of vehicle dismantlers, garages services, tyre distributors and retreaders are not aware of the changes.

“It's not just the person who dumps these tyres who's to blame, it's also the fitter happy to hand over his waste tyres to a collector without checking he is legitimate,” says Environment Agency chairman Sir John Harman. He claims one in three businesses using tyre disposal contractors do not check the collector is legitimate. They face fines and jail terms for non-compliance.

The National Tyre Distributors Association supports the Government's consultation document but suggests it needs to take a statutory approach. “Some companies play by the book and others don't,” says Richard Edy, NTDA director. “We need a programme that embraces all the elements of the tyre disposal chain.”

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