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End of life vehicles

Vehicles which have reached the end of their life are considered to be waste and need to be disposed of properly.

Every year around 2 million vehicles reach the end of their life. End-of-Life vehicles (ELVs) are motor vehicles that are classed as waste. The components and materials removed from ELVs like batteries, engine oil and metal are also waste and vehicles are classed as hazardous waste until they have been fully treated.

It not undertaken correctly, the process of collecting, treating, storing and disposing of ELVs may cause a risk to human health and the environment.  

ELV legislation aims to reduce this risk and to reduce the amount of waste produced when vehicles are scrapped.

End-Of Life-Vehicles Directive (2000/53/EC)

The End-of-Life Vehicles Directive (2000/53/EC) aims to reduce the amount of waste produced when vehicles are scrapped and to increase the re-use, recycling and recovery of end-of-life vehicles, their components and materials.  

The Directive seeks to encourage vehicle manufacturers to design and produce vehicles which can be easily re-used, recovered and recycled. It also limits the amount of hazardous substances and promotes the use of recycled materials in new vehicles. The Directive also sets targets for recycling, recovery and re-use and requires manufacturers to use standards to enable this.  

Some of the general obligations of the ELV Directive include:

  • vehicle manufactures encouraged to design and produce new vehicles which can be easily re-used and recycled
  • limit use of hazardous substances in new vehicles
  • encourage the use of recycled materials in new vehicles
  • owner or holder of and ELV will receive a certificate of destruction when the vehicle is passed to a treatment facility
  • rate of re-use and recovery of vehicle components to be 95% by 1 January 2015
  • rate of re-use and recycling of (in average weight per vehicle per year) should be 85% by 1 January 2015.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is the lead UK Government Department for policy on end of life vehicles (ELVs) and their disposal.

Visit: Environmental permitting guidance: The end-of-life vehicles directive (external link)

Visit: European Regulations on End of Life Vehicles (external link)


In the UK, the directive is implemented through two sets of Regulations. Theses are the End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 and the End-of-Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005.  

Under the 2003 Regulations Certificates of Destruction became required and obligations were placed on producers to: 

  • use coding standards
  • restrict the use of hazardous substances
  • ensure re-use, recovery and recycling.    
Visit: End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 (external link)

The 2005 Regulations require producers to register responsibility for vehicles they place on the market and to implement an approved system for collecting of ELVs. The Regulations also introduced re-use, recovery and recycling targets.  

Visit: End-of-Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005 (external link)

Government guidance on how the Regulations might affect you is available on the BIS website.

Visit: Department  for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra): End-of-life vehicles (external link) 

Directgov advice for vehicle owners

Advice for vehicle owners on tax, MOT and vehicle insurance.

Visit: Directgov – Vehicle Ownership (external link)

Vehicle Certification Agency

The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) enforces compliance with The End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003. This site provides information for producers on how to comply with Part III and IV of the Regulations.  

Visit: Vehicle Certification Agency – ELVs (external link)

European Commission

Information from the European Commission on the ELV Directive and legislation.

Visit: European Commission - End of Life Vehicles (external link)