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Illegal vehicle scrapping ‘costs industry £250m’

boston scrap metal ea

The Motor Vehicles Dismantlers Association (MVDA) has warned that there could be more illegal than legal car scrapping operations in the UK, at the cost of around £250m to legitimate businesses.

Speaking to MRW in the wake of the Environmental Services Association (ESA) waste crime report published in May, MVDA secretary Charles Ambrose said a survey conducted by the trade body in 2015 had revealed more than 825 illegal vehicle dismantlers in the UK.

“There are only 1,450 ‘active’ permitted vehicle recyclers in the UK, so it’s likely that the number of illegal operators now exceeds the number of legal operators,” he added.

The MVDA also found 190 suspected illegal dismantlers using an Environment Agency (EA) exemption, which allows parts from depolluted end-of-life vehicles to be reused – known as U16 exemptions.

The association is concerned about the ease of obtaining U16 exemptions. In 2016, the MVDA took just 10 minutes to obtain approval for a U16, which was “never followed up by the EA”.

The ESA report, drafted by Eunomia, estimated waste crime to cost the UK more than £600m.

Ambrose said the true figure, taking into account illegal vehicle dismantling and tyre crime among other issues, was likely to be significantly greater.

He said: “The MVDA estimates that the revenue to illegal vehicle dismantlers is probably in excess of £250m a year. Not an insignificant amount of money.

“Practical Government regulation of the waste industry cannot be done on a shoe-string and the absolute priority must be to focus on illegal waste operators.

“If the law needs changing to achieve that, then so be it. The alternative is a continued withdrawal of investment by permitted operators and a slide into illegality.”

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