At arms’ length,
preparations for full implementation of the ‘free take-back’ of end of life
vehicles seem to be nothing short of perfect. However, John Chillingworth
finds the elements of change for the recycling industry are much more than
It has been two years - and counting - since UK vehicle salvage and
dismantling companies gained a ‘tip-of-the-iceberg’ insight into the
implications of EU directives, which were to be anglicised and steadily
implemented under British Law.
Early in the process, the Department of Trade and Industry claimed that the
ELV Regulations 2003 formalised the move toward modernisation of the ELV
treatment and recycling sector, to be underpinned by vehicle manufacturers.
How the DTI became involved at all appears something of a mystery, when the
European Union’s Environmental Directorate has talked directly to the UK
Environment Agency and DEFRA for the past thirty years!
In fact, when attempting to establish a chain of ELV command with one civil
servant, it was hinted that it was something dealt with by the Office of the
Deputy Prime Minister and, therefore, the ‘three monkeys’ approach would be
the best in the circumstances.
The DTI, however, was the epitome of courtesy when responding to a request
for a progress report and answered with a carefully prepared statement of
the obvious and information already in the public domain.
Such courtesy can be a great confidence builder, until the ministry
responded to a key question – What happens if a vehicle manufacturer shuts
down - and who pays for disposal of the brand?
The DTI’s current response is: If the badge is not taken over,
responsibility can be ascribed to another VM, if there are good historical
grounds. If no grounds for ascribing, the Regulations provide the
possibility of a collective agreement with the industry, to deal with
Next question -What about old marques? Who will deal with Ladas and Yugos,
The DTI repeats: If no vehicle manufacturer declares responsibility for a
marque, responsibility can be ascribed to a VM, if there are good historical
grounds, etc. To many, the answers are not exactly grey areas, rather
yawning credibility gaps!
In this day and age there is, of course, something noble about caring for
the environment, but the much more alarming prospect is the concept of
It takes little imagination to visualise vehicle salvage and dismantlers as
being front-line soldiers in the battle to save the planet. As a
consequence, with the whole profile of business in that area about to change
out of all recognition, there will be more losers than winners.
Devizes Reclamation Co. Limited, with the vision and financial muscle to
take commercial advantage of the final segment of the ELV Directive, is
already staking its claim to be amongst those Authorised Treatment
Facilities (ATF), which will move into ‘fast-forward gear’ to meet the 1
January 2006 85% recycling target and to service the manufacturers’ free car
take-back regulations in January 2007.
One of six companies in the Grist Group, the current pro-active profile of
Devizes Reclamation Co. Limited is a shining example of its chairman’s
common sense, ‘gut feeling’ approach to vehicle recycling.
Thirty-three years ago, Nigel Grist borrowed £100.00 and started collecting
scrap metal. Today, with a turnover of millions, his group of companies now
experience a 30% annual growth per annum on a regular basis.
Anticipating, early, the need to upgrade and reorganise its working area
dedicated to end of life vehicle recycling, Devizes Reclamation was amongst
the first to register as an Authorised Treatment Facility. When the national
registration and licensing ‘window’ closes at the end of August, the true
picture of end of life vehicle recycling after January 2007 will emerge.
Nigel Grist comments, “Because of the investment, registration and licensing
fee are enormous, the new regulations are set to kill the small man in the
“Even conforming to the requirements of the recently introduced hazardous
waste regulations, part of which demands registration and warns of draconian
fees for non-compliance, could create an insurmountable challenge to them,”
In contrast to the small under-funded operators, the ‘spoils’ of change will
go to those companies like Devizes Reclamation, which have anticipated and
meticulously invested in their handling facilities and logistics.
Site Manager, Paul Crannis, one of the new breed of managers who will be in
the ‘hot-seat’ when the new car take back regulations kick in, already
presides over his scrupulously clean, concreted yard where ELV’s await
initial treatment by the recently installed SEDA de-polluting plant, which
safely discharges all hazardous waste from each vehicle.
He explained that after engine removal and recovery of all re-useable spare
parts, the vehicle shells are crushed and bailed, using the company’s
awesome new, Italian designed, LOLLINI R & M Logger.
Currently serving a catchment area, which covers North Wiltshire, Salisbury,
Kennet, Bath and NE Somerset, when the national coverage of ATF’s is
finalised, there is a possibility that the area will increase.
“Because the majority of manufacturers have already contracted to channel
their ELV’s through Cartakeback Limited,” observed Nigel Grist, “it will be
from them hat a substantial percentage of the 800 AVF companies in England
and Wales will receive their allocation of vehicles for recycling.
Cartakeback, which aims to have 70% of vehicle manufacturers ‘on board’ by
the time that the new ELV legislation becomes Law, was created as a result
of eleven shredding companies making a collective decision to provide an
efficient administrative service to both manufactures and ATF’s nationally.
The Ford Motor Company was the first manufacturer to sign up to the
Cartakeback Limited administration system followed by the majority of other
UK-based car makers.
Some, however, having invited Cartakeback and other shredding organisations
to tender appear at the time of going to press to be sitting on their hands!
They will not do so for much longer, because within days the Environment
Agency will be closing the registration period and the threatened
substantial fines could become a reality.