Commercial vehicle dismantling and scrap metal businesses need permits to operate – both from the Environment Agency and local authorities. When a vehicle has reached the end of its life, it must be scrapped at an authorised treatment facility (ATF). To do this safely, the operator must hold a certificate of technical competence and have environmental management systems in place, as well as being legally required to take extra care when producing and disposing of waste. In addition, there are also minimum infrastructure requirements in place to protect the environment.
Anyone who already operates or works within an ATF will appreciate that the regulation and environmental permitting associated with such a facility is complex, expensive and time consuming. It is therefore critical that once a business has gained the relevant licences and permits that these organisations continue to do everything within their power to maintain that authorisation. No permit, no business.
As with all industries there are always those unscrupulous people looking to profit from illegal practices and crimes. The UK has its fair share of illegal operators that dismantle vehicles without the correct permits and authorisation. Regardless of the consequences of prosecution, including large fines and custodial sentences, many of these indivduals still remain undeterred. Illegal and unlicensed vehicle dismantlers, scrap-metal dealers and carriers can cause damage to the environment and threaten legitimate business, who lose income to illegal operations.
UNLIMITED FINES for illegal operators & permit breaches
The Government is consequently looking to give the Environment Agency (EA) new enforcement powers in order that they can apply penalties for non compliance, that are “quicker and easier” to enforce.
New legislation seeks to withdraw the current penalty cap of £250,000, meaning that those who operate illegally or pollute the environment will face unlimited penalties going forward. In addition, the new enforcement powers would also look to target a much wider range of offences.
All this would go to increase investment, toughen enforcement and tighten regulation and will make sure there is a proportionate punishment for operators that breach their permits and those who operate illegally.