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2002-06-24 18:15:25
Abandoned car boom expected

A huge rise is expected in the number of old cars abandoned on the roadside in Southport following a government decision that the last owner of every vehicle must pay for new scrapping and recycling costs.

The announcement, which follows months of indecision on how to introduce the EU End-of-Life Vehicles directive, has been described by the British Metals Recycling Association as an "environmental disaster and a blight on local communities."

Southport Euro-MP Chris Davies says that he is expecting a huge increase in the number of abandoned cars to make the current problem of disposing of old fridges pale into insignificance.

The End-of-Life Vehicle Directive, which was designed to promote recycling and protect the environment, requires all hazardous substances such as oil, brake fluid and coolant to be removed from vehicles before they are scrapped.

Dismantlers estimate that the new requirements will cost up to 100 for each of the 2 million or so cars that are scrapped every year. Vehicle manufacturers will be forced to foot the bill from 2007, but until now it has been unclear who will meet the costs in the meantime.

Reports suggest that the government looked into three different options for raising the money - taxing new cars to pay for the scrapping of old ones, asking the manufacturers to pay, and forcing the last owners to cough up.

Last Friday, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons, Trade and Industry Minister Brian Wilson confirmed that last owners would be responsible for the disposal of their vehicles for the next four and a half years.

David Hulse, Director General of the British Metals Recycling Association, said that his organisation was "extremely disappointed" with the decision, which "gives the green light to the dumping of cars".

"More than a million vehicles presently being operated illegally on our roads by unregistered users will come to the end of their lives over the next few years," he said. "The likelihood of these people paying for proper disposal is zero."

Chris Davies, who is the European environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, agrees that forcing the last owner to pay will simply lead to more cars being dumped on the roadside.

He argues that a tax should be placed on new cars instead, as people paying several thousand pounds for a car would be much more likely to be able to afford an extra 100 in scrapping and recycling costs.

The Southport MEP says that the government chose the worst possible option, and warns that a rise in the number of abandoned cars will place huge financial burdens on local councils and will greatly increase the risk of arson and joyriding.

"The new EU rules were agreed 18 months ago, but officials have been discussing them for more than six years," he said. "After months of buckpassing between the different departments involved, it is clear that the government has now settled on the worst possible way of financing the new arrangements.

"People who drive old bangers are simply not going to pay up to 100 to have their cars disposed of properly, especially since there is still no proper system in place to make sure that they do so.

"There is no question that we will se a huge increase in the number of abandoned cars, along with all of the problems that that entails."

Article submitted by A.Cutting on behalf of Chris Davies MEP.

Editors comment(JPL):
Quick, sell your car before it breaks down or you'll have to pay to scrap it!!
The decision also makes trading in your old car when buying new into an even more attractive proposition.
Although I do wonder how come it now costs 100 to dispose of a car when at one time you could be paid 30 to have it towed away by a scrap metal merchant
who would recycle it into parts that would be resold.
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