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What if ELV’s go negative?

Negative value of ELVs
Are we heading for a boom in abandoned vehicles if we find in the not too distant future, that the cost of depollution exceeds an ELV's value, or will producer responsibility save the day?
We’ve spoken to plenty of dismantlers who have expressed concerns over ELV values and what will happen if ELVs get to a point of negative value.


We know that from 1st January 2007, if an end-of-life vehicle has no market value, the law states that no charge shall be imposed on the last owner or holder of that end of life vehicle when it is delivered to a system for collection, provided by the producer.

Some have raised concerns that this obligation, where they are members of organisations that have made agreements with the producers, has been passed onto the dismantler which prompted us to contact, the largest of these bodies, CarTakeBack to get their view on these worries. This is what Car Take Back’s Graham Price had to say.

“A vehicle manufacturer cannot transfer its responsibility to offer and organise free take back of an end of life vehicle to members of the public whose vehicle qualifies for that service. In respect of how it discharges this service then it can contract this service to third parties, but those third parties are not recognised as having a responsibility under the law.

In respect of CarTakeBack, we have developed a system for some brands that has been approved by BIS via the brands but I’m sure you will understand that the details of these contracted arrangements are confidential.

I do think that I can help clarify your value chain query though. Currently, and in my opinion, end of life vehicles should still attract a payment to the last owner on delivery to an ATF in respect of over 99% of vehicles arising in the United Kingdom. I would also be relatively confident in suggesting that most of those last owners who comprise the 99% can also surrender that vehicle for collection and still receive a payment in doing so, they can do that via CarTakeBack at the very least. In the areas where they don’t receive a payment but qualify for free take back (which are remote locations) then CarTakeBack has in place a financial support system to enable the local infrastructure to securely and safely handle those contracted brands, and has operated that support system for 10 years now without complaint.

If you wanted to move into a speculative area of when those 99% of vehicles may move into requiring support to ATFs, then I would be unable to go with you on that. ATFs that I speak to when asked if they would charge for an end of life vehicle delivered to them which is complete and free from waste have answered “bring them on”! “


So that’s the view of our leading network of vehicle manufacturer approved authorised treatment facilities in the UK. Graham isn’t saying that the value of a complete vehicle will always be more than the cost to depollute and process, just that he’s not prepared to speculate with what, ifs and whens, should ATFs require support. What is a fact, is that the responsibility for free take back still rests with the manufacturers.

How a negative value situation would pan out for an independent dismantler, who is not attached to any of the networks is hard to say, but if a charge were imposed, and if the final owner was prepared to pay, then that would be a matter between the dismantler and the final owner. But, bear in mind, the final owner has a right to deliver that end of life vehicle to a system for collection, provided by the producer, free of charge.

So, should the unthinkable happen and vehicles attract a negative value, we anticipate that any deals would be between the leading networks and the manufacturers. In this situation it’s hard to imagine an independent dismantler being able to charge when the last owner can take it to another site free of charge. It would all be uncharted territory so we shall just have to wait and see!

visit Car Take Back's website here

December 2015


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