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New EU directive for vehicles

The European Union (EU) Council of Ministers has approved a new directive setting detailed standards regarding the reusability, recyclability and recoverability of new EU-manufactured passenger cars and light-duty commercial trucks, up to 3,500kg.

The rules will be written into the EU's type-approval marketing authorisation procedure, guiding national regulators in deciding what models are allowed onto the road.

It should ensure that manufacturers follow the year 2000 End of Life Vehicles directive, which insisted that once cars and vans are scrapped, their contents be reusable and/or recyclable to a minimum of 85% by mass and are reusable and/or recoverable (converted into a usable form or used to generate energy) to a minimum of 95% by mass.

The new directive says that manufacturers must convince national regulators through technical information that their models will meet these rules, prior to manufacture.

If they do meet the criteria, a regulator will issue a 'certificate of compliance'.

This directive will come into force in October 2006, although regulators will not be able to refuse type approval certificates for another two years, and order a halt to production of particular vehicles already under manufacture for another four years.

The directive says tyres shall be considered recyclable within any calculations.

It also sets out component parts that are considered non-reusable, and so not considered in the overall mass, when calculating recyclability and recoverability rates.

These include airbags and related equipment; seat-belts and their assemblies (including seats if these airbags and belts are incorporated within them); steering lock assemblies; immobilisers; emission after-treatment systems, such as catalytic converters; and exhaust silencers.

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