Britain misses EU deadline on vehicle recycling
LONDON - Britain has missed the April deadline to comply with the European Union\'s new green directive on recycling cars, and the industry is still in the dark about when it will do so and who will pay the bills.
The European Union\'s end-of-life vehicle (ELV) directive came into force in the 15-member bloc on April 21 to ensure that up to 95 percent of any scrap vehicle is recycled by 2015, with all chemicals, gases and non-biodegradable parts being removed before dismantling at approved sites. \"Well the 21st has been and gone and we still don\'t have any direction from the government,\" David Hulse, secretary general of the British Metals Recycling Association, said.
Hulse said progress had been made in determining how vehicles should be dismantled but there had been no firm word from the government on how the operation would be funded or which recycling plants would be eligible to apply for permits.
The ELV directive, which offers EU member states some leeway in how to apply it, is part of a series of legal measures to reduce the amount of landfill waste from vehicles, home appliances or packaging by raising recycling rates.
WAITING FOR ANSWERS
Britain\'s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) wants sites to have faciliites in place before they apply for a permit, but most companies are loth to invest in new facilities without knowing how costs will be covered.
\"We are extremely worried about the situation in which we find ourselves with the government,\" Hulse said.
Recyclers said they were hoping to have an answer from the government by May and that legislation would probably be voted in July outlining the criteria for the award of permits.
\"By July there will be very few people to apply because they haven\'t made the investment to build the facilities,\" one said.
\"By far the majority of the industry will not be applying in July, they will be applying later, whether or not we can work out a mechanism for funding,\" he said.
The UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a consultation document in October 2001 on the award of permits for treatment facilities and offered proposals for three separate payment schemes.
A spokesman for the DTI said: \"There\'s nothing new. The next thing that will happen is the consultation on the permitting of treatment sites. I can\'t give a date but it will be soon.\"
Story by Amanda Cooper
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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