A subsidiary of insurer Aviva, Bluecycle claims that up to a million vehicles a year, which are taken off the road and should be destroyed are not due to insufficient resources available to enforce European legislation governing their recycling.
It is thought that this illegal practice may mean that unsafe vehicles are returning to UK roads or are being sold abroad.
Vehicles that are taken off the road should be delivered to an authorised treatment facility (ATF) which issues the vehicle with a Certificate of Destruction (COD). The car is then destroyed and scrapped.
Bluecycle reputation manager Andy Latham said: “We’re caught in a Lazarus effect where something like 50% of vehicles scrapped don’t get a COD. They’re quite literally coming back from the dead.
“Until the audit trail is tightened up and more unauthorised sites are closed down, we cannot expect this figure to reduce by much, which flies in the face of the original legislation and more importantly, could put someone’s life at risk if a car finds its way back onto the road.”
The Government’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency figures show that approximately two million cars are taken off the road each year. However, the number of CODs issued is closer to the one million mark.
Introduced by the European Commission, the law demands that 85% of every car leaving the road must be recycled by an ATF.
The Environment Agency shut down 100 illegal scrap yards in England and Wales last year. A spokesperson said the EA will continue to crackdown on unlicensed operators: “[We estimate] that rogue traders could still be netting millions of pounds every year dealing in scrap vehicles.
“Illegal car scrap yards are a huge problem for the environment, as there are no safeguards in place to prevent pollution.”