End-of-life Vehicles

What is an End-of-life vehicle?

End-of-life vehicles are motor vehicles that fall into the category of ‘waste’ as defined by the Waste Directive. Their components are also classed as waste. The End-of-Life Vehicle Regulations aim to: tighten existing controls and support pollution prevention standardise disposal requirements throughout the EU influence the design of vehicles so that they, and their components, are easier to recycle reduce the quantity of waste remaining after recovery and recycling have been undertaken Reduce the use of certain hazardous materials in car manufacture and therefore in vehicles to be disposed of.

Vehicle manufacturers – what do you need to do?

If your business manufactures or assembles motor vehicles, or produces them in kit form, you have a number of responsibilities.

  • You must register with the Secretary of State and declare responsibility for the vehicles that you produce. Applications for registration can be made by post or email:
    ELV Registrations Unit
    Department of Trade and Industry
    Bay 426
    151 Buckingham Palace Road
    SW1W 9SS
  • You must set up a free take-back system for the end-of-life vehicles that you are responsible for. The system must be approved by the Secretary of State. To get approval you must submit an application describing the system, to the Secretary of State. The system must be reasonably accessible to anyone who wants to deliver a vehicle to it.
  • If you transfer your business to someone else you must make arrangements for any vehicles for which you are responsible.
  • The vehicles you manufacture must comply with certain design requirements. These include the ban on the use if certain substances such as cadmium, lead and hexavalent chromium.
  • You must keep technical documents for four years from the date the materials and components are put on the market. Your environmental regulator can ask to see these documents to prove your compliance with the regulations.
  • You must code all components and materials. This is to help identification for reuse and recovery.

The requirements set out in the regulations are very detailed. Contact your environmental regulator for further information.

Vehicle owners and operators – what do you need to do?

When you send a vehicle for dismantling or disposal, check that the site you are sending it to has a waste management licence and is listed as an 'Authorised Treatment Facility' (ATF).

In Scotland you should contact SEPA to check for ATFs.

If you send your end-of-life vehicle to a site to store it before it is taken to an ATF for depollution, make sure that the storage site has a waste management licence.

When you send a vehicle for dismantling or disposal, you will be issued with a ‘Certificate of Destruction’. You need this certificate for the DVLA to deregister the vehicle.

A Certificate of Destruction must contain:detailed information describing the vehicle details of the ATF Details of the competent issuing authority. You will be able to take your vehicle to an ATF free of charge providing it contains the essential components of a vehicle. Note that vintage vehicles do not fall within the scope of these regulations. Vintage vehicles include historic vehicles or vehicles of value to collectors or intended for museums, kept in a proper and environmentally sound manner, either ready for use or stripped into parts.

Vehicle Dismantling - Storage and Handling of Materials Guidelines

Any oils, fuels or chemicals that are stored or handled on site have the potential to pollute surface waters, ground waters or land. End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs) and their components also have the potential to cause pollution as they contain oils, fuels and chemicals. These may be present in solid, liquid or gas form, e.g. shock-absorbers, asbestos brake linings in vehicles, oils used as lubricants for moving parts, partially empty fuel tanks and tyres.

Practical Technical Requirements

Defra have produced guidance on depolluting ELVs that will provide you with additional information to that given below.

  • All sites for treatment and storage (including temporary storage) of ELVs prior to their treatment must have impermeable surfaces for appropriate areas and a sealed drainage system in vehicle storage areas. This includes areas where depollution activities are carried out, and areas where engines, transmission or hydraulic systems are dismantled. You must also provide spillage collection facilities such as decanters and cleanser-degreasers.
  • Avoid damage to all stored components containing fluids, recoverable components and spare parts, both to prevent harm to the environment and to maximise their value for reuse, recycling and recovery.
  • Store all oil-contaminated spare parts in impermeable storage areas with a sealed drainage system.
  • Remove the following from the ELV:
    • oil filters, which must be stored separately
    • all lead-acid batteries and back-up batteries (unless they are required for the subsequent reuse of the part). Store lead-acid batteries in impermeable containers on impermeable surfaces
    • fuel, motor oil, transmission oil, gearbox oil, hydraulic oil, cooling liquids, anti-freeze, brake fluid, air-conditioning system fluids and any other fluids (unless they are necessary for the re-use of the part concerned). All of these must be collected and stored separately in appropriate storage tanks. A suitable secondary containment system should be provided, e.g. tanks should either have double skins or be appropriately bunded;

      PPG 2 Above Ground Oil Storage Tanks

    • All explosive components (e.g. airbags and seat belt pre-tensioners).
  • If not removed, these components must be neutralised;
    • all components containing mercury, as far as is feasible
    • any components (e.g. air conditioning units, refrigeration units and insulating foam) containing ozone depleting substances (e.g. CFCs) for destruction or recycling. The links below give guidance, which although written for fridges and freezers are still relevant.

      Defra guidance on disposal of waste refrigeration equipment

  • You can store and dismantle depolluted vehicles on hard-standing, if:
    • the dismantling is only of parts not associated with the engine, transmission or hydraulic systems
    • the dismantling activity will not disturb, the engine, transmission or hydraulic systems.
    You must increase the monitoring of these areas and deal with problems promptly.
  • You will need a Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit to carry out battery electrolyte neutralisation.