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Mechanic Wrench

ELV Legislatio

European Parliament


Every year more than 1.5 million vehicles in the UK become waste. Collecting, storing, treating and disposing of end-of-life Vehicles (ELVs) incorrectly can pollute the environment. It's for this reason that ELVs are classed as hazardous or special waste until they have had their dangerous chemicals and substances removed. This Vehicle Depollution process is regulated to limit environmental impact of end-of-life vehicles by:

  • reducing the amount of waste created when a vehicle reaches the end of its life

  • ensuring that any environmental or health hazards are appropriately removed, recovered, stored and reprocessed


Legislation to limit the impact of ELVs on the environment aims to:

  • influence the design of vehicles to make them and their components easier to recycle

  • reduce the use of certain hazardous materials in vehicle manufacture to enable safer and easier disposal of waste from ELVs

  • standardise requirements to ensure that sites storing or treating ELVs have a permit, and are operating suitably to prevent pollution

  • increase the amount of material recycled from waste vehicles, and reduce the level of waste going to landfill

Directive 2000/53/EC 



The End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003, and the End-of-Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005, are the underpinning legislations for ELV depollution across the UK and Europe. 

Vehicles are regulated to limit the environmental impact of their disposal through various measures, encouraging the recovery, reuse and recycling of metals, plastics and rubber.

The regulations cover all cars (up to 9 seats) and small vans (up to 3.5 tonnes), including components made for them. 

Gear Stick


In the UK the dismantling and depollution of ELVs must only be carried out at authorised treatment facilities (ATFs) who meet relevant standards in relation to the:

  • storage and treatment of ELVs

  • removal of hazardous liquids and components from ELVs (depollution)

  • reuse, recycling or disposal of parts.

ATFs issue Certificates of Destruction to confirm that each individual ELV has been processed in accordance with the regulations, at which point they are deregistered by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.​


Responsibility for enforcing regulations in the UK is shared by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).


In addition, the four geographic environment agencies enforce regulations at ATFs where ELVs are dismantled. ATFs operate under an Environmental Permit in England and Wales, or Waste Management Licence in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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