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End of Life Vehicles

Last updated: 23 January 2014


In Northern Ireland, an estimated 50,000 vehicles come to the end of their life every year. End of life vehicles have the potential to release harmful substances into the environment if they are not stored, treated and disposed of properly. End of life vehicles are classed as hazardous waste until they have been fully treated and de-polluted. As a result of concerns about the environmental and economic impacts of waste vehicles, the European Union adopted the End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive (2000/52/EC) in October 2000.

End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive

The ELV Directive includes the following provisions:

  • ELVs must only be treated at permitted treatment facilities which meet strict environmental standards.
  • Producers (vehicle manufacturers and importers) are to be responsible for the costs of ELV take-back and treatment.
  • Producers and other economic operators (such as car dismantlers and shredders) are to establish adequate systems for the take-back and collection of ELVs.
  • The last owner of a vehicle must be able to return their vehicle into collection systems free of charge from January 2007.
  • The last owner of a vehicle must be issued with a Certificate of Destruction for their vehicle.
  • Recycling and recovery targets must be met from 2006 (85% recovery with a minimum of 80% recycling) with higher targets from 2015 (95% recovery with a minimum of 85% recycling).

End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations

In the UK, the ELV Directive is implemented through ELV Regulations issued in 2003 and 2005. The 2003 regulations deal with treatment standards, site licensing and restricting the use of hazardous substances in new vehicles. The 2005 regulations cover recycling targets and free take-back for ELVs.

Complementary to these ELV Regulations, in Northern Ireland, the licensing of Authorised Treatment Facilities and the site and operating standards with which they must comply is contained in the Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003.

Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs)

ELVs must only be treated at permitted treatment facilities which meet strict environmental standards. These facilities are known as Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs). In Northern Ireland, ATFs are approved and regulated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). An up to date public register of ATFs is available at ATF Register NI.

The guidance document below, commissioned by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) (formerly the Department of Trade and Industry - DTI), describes the procedures for de-pollution of an ELV so that it is no longer hazardous waste:
ELV Depollution Guidance(.PDF 160Kb)Opens in New window

An application form to be an ATF can be obtained by contacting NIEA on 028 90569758

NIEA monitor the licensed ATFs to ensure that they are treating ELVs correctly. We also investigate and take enforcement action against operators of illegal sites. These sites threaten the environment and undermine legitimate operators. It is imperative that the motor trade and members of the public do not provide ELVs to illegal operators. Check the ATF public register to ensure that you only give your waste vehicles to legal operators. If you have any information on illegal ELV sites, please contact NIEA Environmental Crime team on 028 9056 9453 or email in New window.

A requirement of the ELV regulations is that the last owner of a waste vehicle is issued with a Certificate of Destruction (CoD). A CoD can only be issued by an ATF. The CoD ensures that the vehicle is treated and disposed of properly and that it is de-registered with the Northern Ireland Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA).

Vehicle producers have set up two service providers to facilitate the collection and free take back of their vehicles – view the CartakebackOpens in New window and AutogreenOpens in New window websites. These service providers have set up networks of ATFs throughout the UK and will be able to advise you on the nearest ATF which will take your make of vehicle free of charge.