British motor trade group The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has welcomed the latest consultation on the end of life vehicles (ELV) directive, published by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The latest government consultation, which proposes an own marque (brand) approach to ELVs, is favoured by vehicle manufacturers as this offers the most practical and cost-efficient framework in which free take-back can take place post-2007.

Under the own marque approach vehicle manufacturers will be responsible for contracting with a network of authorised treatment facilities to receive and scrap their end of life vehicles. This will be accommodated within the existing waste and recycling infrastructure, giving that sector the opportunity to continue to thrive into the future.

While the industry is broadly pleased that government will take the own marque approach, the SMMT will be lobbying to ensure that the cost burden on manufacturers is kept to a minimum.

In particular: the scheme and any costs should be based only on the number of vehicles arising at those networks with the cost of vehicles processed outside the official networks established by vehicle manufacturers borne by the operator collecting them.

Operators acting outside the official network must be responsible for meeting obligations imposed by the directive. Independent importers should take responsibility for the vehicles they put into the UK market and the free take back must only apply to vehicles that are complete and free of other waste materials.

Vehicle manufacturers will develop appropriate networks of take-back facilities based on customer convenience, economic efficiency and the numbers of ELVs arising in a particular area. However, the needs of smaller or niche manufactures will be different to the requirements of volume makers. SMMT will therefore urge government to re-think its proposal to impose a maximum journey distance of 10 miles to treatment facilities and ensure that there is enough flexibility in the regulation to accommodate the varying needs of smaller producers.

While vehicle manufacturers have continually improved the recyclability of their products, the motor industry believes that responsibility for reporting on the levels of recycled materials should rest with authorised treatment facilities. This would ensure a level playing field between contracted and un-contracted facilities and reduce the level of administrative complexity. It would also ensure that the burden on UK manufacturers is no greater than that imposed in other EU member states.