The British Metals Recycling Association expressed its apprehension as the Governments car scrappage scheme officially ended today (31 March).
BMRA director general Ian Hetherington said: Our concern is that the UK automotive sector may still be weak. The end of the scheme may well result in a sudden drop in new vehicle sales. This could have an obvious knock-on effect for our industry by bringing a corresponding decrease in end-of-life vehicle (ELV) supply.
The BMRA hopes the Government will now continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly if necessary.
Scrap metal merchants agreed the conclusion of the scheme could cause a quiet period for scrapped cars.
Metal processor Ampthill Metal Company business and development manager Mick Leech said: It will definitely have an impact because its brought forward up to 400,000 scrapped cars, so there is going to be a lull [once all the cars from the scheme are scrapped]. There will be many fewer cars being scrapped now, and I think it might be six months before car scrapping kicks in again.
But another merchant was not concerned: The scheme has been very good for us because of the amount of scrap thats been generated and we have been able to sell on the car parts. But were very busy with scrap cars at the moment and only a small percentage are coming from the Governments scrappage scheme, so I dont worry about the end of the scheme too much.
The merchant, who wished not to be named, said he thought there had been a rise in the number of scrapped cars because they are not cost-effective for people to keep on the roads, are more prone to breakdowns and replacing parts is more expensive.
Business secretary Lord Mandelson said: The scheme was always time-limited and today, as it closes, I am pleased to see that scrappage has delivered the results we aimed for not just for manufacturers, but for the whole industry and its supply chain.
Government findings on the impact of the scheme found that 56% of those surveyed said they would not have bought a vehicle at this time if the scrappage scheme had not been introduced. Furthermore, jobs were created as a result of the new car demand. For example, the Nissan plant in Sunderland took on 350 extra workers; the Mini Oxford plant has returned to a seven-day week; and Ford engine plants at Dagenham and Bridgend have been working overtime.