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Better awareness of car recycling rules needed

The trade association representing car dismantlers has called for more awareness of car recycling regulations and better enforcement of the rules.

Charles Ambrose, chairman of the Motor Vehicle Dismantlers’ Association, said that recent attempts to crack down on metal theft had failed to acknowledge the difference between metal recycling in general, and vehicle recycling which does not fall under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964.

Paul Ambrose

Ambrose (left) said that vehicle dismantlers operated in a completely different way to the scrap metal industry. “One difference is that every vehicle has a unique identity and a unique item,” he said. “There’s a document that goes with it (V5). That should go mean that there’s immediately an audit trail. In scrap metal there is often no audit trail or it’s more easily manipulated.”

Some MVDA members were also targeted by the police who initially failed to understand the Act, Ambrose said, while other bodies such as the Environment Agency also have a limited understanding of how an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) works.

However, Ambrose acknowledged that more needed to be done to combat illegally operating vehicle recyclers and those that are not registered under the Motor Salvage Operator Registration scheme. Some ATFs are suspected of not having technically competent staff, failing to issue Certificates of Destruction on processed vehicles, or reporting on recycling targets.

MVDA members must meet basic standards including all legal requirements not just a Waste Management Licence or relevant Environmental Permit.

 “There’s not enough enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act and in the same way with the Motor Salvage Operator Registration, it just hasn’t happened,” said Ambrose. “There are around 2,000 ATFs but we only represent 200.”

Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill 2012, vehicle dismantlers and scrap metal dealers will be regulated together. This is unlikely to make any significant difference to the association’s members, Ambrose says.

“It makes sense for it all to come together, the concern is that if the Act is not enforced as well as it should be, the bill won’t be either.  It needs to be, but it’s difficult because local authorities don’t have the resources.”

Ambrose that the cash ban had had no real effect of members with a move away from cash transactions in the last 18 months towards cheques or transfers.

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