UK ATFs to see 17 million ELVs over the next 5 years
I make no apologies for this week's blog being very numbers focused. Sometimes it's the figures that are the most impactful. The numbers quoted in this article were published several months ago and I believe that they are the single most important insight for anticipating the future of vehicle dismantling and recycling sector in the UK. Why? Well, this data provides a clear and accurate forecast into the sheer size of the challenge that faces UK authorised treatment facilities over the next decade.
DVLA Latest Figures
The DVLA states that there are currently 33.2 million cars and vans on UK roads, with a whopping 32.1million of these powered by the trusty internal combustion engine. Of those vehicles, the DVLA highlight that 17 million are already at least ten years old. With the average age of a scrapped vehicle being 14 years old, we can safely anticipate that most of these 17 million vehicles will reach the end of their operating life within the next five years.
The 1,951 ATFs in the UK currently process some 1.5 million vehicles per year. To address the 17 million vehicles heading to scrapyards over the next five years, ATFs will need to more than double their current output to nearly 3.5 million vehicles annually. If left at the current rate, it would take 12 years just to clear the backlog.
What needs to change?
With the deadlines on the sale of new polluting vehicles set for 2030 and 2035, the increased demand globally for green parts, and 9 million UK vehicles having covered over 100,000 miles, decommissioning needs are set to increase significantly for years to come. It is unlikely that the Government will be willing to extend the 2030 and 2035 deadline as we march towards the legally-binding zero carbon deadline in 2050, and its unlikely that there will be a significant increase in the number of ATFs registered. So any solution that tackles this is going to involve significant change from within the current vehicle dismantling sector. It will be the responsibility of existing ATFs to increase their processing capability and that will come about by incorporating the latest best practice, adopting newer technologies, but most of all, by providing additional training for operatives to drive efficiency in process. It is impossible to leverage the best from a equipment if you haven't received the necessary training to unlock its full potential. Furthermore, it is impossible to become more more efficient, safer, and more compliant, if you don't have access to training specialists who can share industry-wide best practice with this, with you.
Best Opportunity for those Early Adopters
As much as the DVLA figures may appear alarming, and rising to this challenge may appear daunting, it provides tremendous opportunity for those businesses who wish to take advantage and grow. And as is usually the case, it will pay to be early to the start line. A famous study found that early adopters grow at more than twice the rate of companies that identified as ‘followers’ (companies that watch and adopt once benefits are proven) and three times the rate of ‘cautious adopters’ who only use a new approach or incorporate a new technology once it has been well established. ATFs know they will have to jump, the big decision will be when to take that plunge. The figures don't lie, our industry needs to change, but its up to you if and how your business chooses to do so.
Are the Figures Accurate?
One last point, the figures quoted are not exaggerated to be more impactful. If anything, they are an under estimate - only accounting for the 17 million cars and vans that are already 10 years and older, and not including newer vehicles that end up being insurance write-offs due to fire, theft or accident damage. Nor do the figures include newly produced vehicles that will enter the UK network over the years to come.