EU clinches deal on recycling scrap cars
BRUSSELS, May 24 (Reuters) - The European Union reached final agreement on Wednesday on a law to force carmakers to bear the cost of recycling scrap cars, a move which the industry says could cost it billions of euros.
Negotiators from the 15 EU governments and the European Parliament tied up a deal in the early hours of the morning which guarantees the last owner of a car should bear no cost for disposing of it, while manufacturers will bear "a significant part" of the expense, an EU spokeswoman told Reuters.
The draft law caused a stir last year when last-minute lobbying by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) persuaded the German government to campaign for a much less stringent deal than the one that was initially negotiated.
ACEA says the plan, part of the EUs drive to reduce environmental pollution from scrap consumer goods, could be ruinously expensive. It will now come into force in the autumn.
ACEA estimated carmakers would face a bill of about 250 German marks ($115.8) for every car scrapped after 2007, which could be as many as eight or nine million vehicles a year.
The final deal represented a compromise between the views of the parliament and governments, which share decision-making powers on environmental issues.
The law means carmakers will cover most of the cost of taking back all cars sold after January 1, 2001 when they reach the end of their lives and are scrapped.
From 2007, they will have to take back without charge any scrap car, regardless of when it was built, although the compromise built in a new element allowing EU governments to introduce the system earlier if they want to.
The law also forces carmakers to recycle or reuse 80 percent of car weight from 2006, rising to 85 percent by 2015.
It introduces a general ban on the use of hazardous heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium in cars put on the market from the start of 2003, although chromium will be allowed in small amounts for anti-corrosion purposes.
The European Commission, the author of the proposals, is drafting similar rules to cover waste from electrical and electronic goods.
Story by Michael Mann
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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