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Is DVLA hiding something?

car park
800,000 ELV's disappear each year. That's a lot of business that should be in our yards- where's it going?
There are about 1.2 million Certificates of Destruction (CODs) issued each year in the UK but its widely believed that there’s 2 million vehicles being taken off the road. That leaves a staggering 800,000 ELVs unaccounted for. Any vehicle taken off the road to be repaired or stored has to be SORN’d and as the figures are publicly available we know they aren’t disappearing that way. So where are they?


It was interesting that DVLA recently presented a seminar at the BVSF annual general meeting where they indicated that the number of disposals to the trade has risen since the tick box on the V5 was abolished. But they declined to give any further information. Why would that be?

This 800,000 ‘missing’ vehicles should by law be going through an ATF and being issued a COD. These are cars that should be finding their way into your yard and it makes us wonder what’s happening.

To get to the bottom of this we put a Freedom of Information request to government asking for this data from DVLA. We assume they must have it as they wouldn’t be in a position to make the comments they did at the BVSF seminar otherwise.

We were promised a response by this month and we have had one. But, not the response we expected. Their response stated that “While the DVLA may hold the information you have asked for, the DVLA is considering whether the information is exempt from disclosure. The information may be exempt from disclosure if it falls within the category of information where disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.” So clearly, they do have the data but don’t want to share it.

It is hard to see how this information would “inhibit the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation”. In fact we feel DVLA are inhibiting an exchange of views by not publishing the data. One has to ask, what are they trying to hide? When 800,000 vehicles are disappearing every year then we as an industry need to know why - after all, this is our livelihood!

And what’s more, we are aware that other Government Departments are examining vehicle-crime related legislation (the VIC scheme and the new Scrap Metal Dealers Bill for example). Surely 800,000 illegally scrapped vehicles, and the way in which they are by-passing the legal system should be of concern to the Home Office (and maybe the European Commission). Have DVLA shared this information with these other departments or would that also "inhibit the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation". It strikes us that 800,000 missing cars or £200 million a year into the criminal pocket should be something to take seriously - we await DVLA's next response.

June 2013

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