L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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28 December 2006 Blog Home : December 2006 : Permalink

Regulation, Counter-regulation but not Deregulation

There is a famous military dictum about the deangers of indecisiveness that goes "Order, counter-order, disorder". Someone should tell the paperpushers in whitehall and their EUseless colleagues in Brussels that this is yet another military saying that is applicable outside the military (along with the famous 7Ps - Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance). In this case the order, counter-order I'm bitching about are the regulations to do with scapping cars.

Once upon a time, er sometime before 2003 in fact, it was possible to pay someone to take your old clunker away and recycle it. This was fairly enviromenally friendly but, apparently, not friendly enough for the EU which created some regulations on the subject. Thus, as Dr North pointed out in August, once the EU's End of Life Vehicle Directive came in to effect this sensible market driven approach has been eliminated by the amount of paperwork and the costs of following the directives. Hence, people now have to pay someone to scrap their car instead of having the scapper do it for free because he could make money by selling on the scrap metal etc. Needless to say the reaction of the general public to this is that people have started dumping cars instead of paying for their proper dismantling and guess what, this is bad for the environment:

As many as 1.5 million cars are being scrapped illegally in Britain every year, presenting a major environmental hazard, the BBC has learned.

Thousands of tonnes of toxic waste are being created by drivers who fail to dispose of their vehicles in the way demanded by the European Union.


In 2003, the European Union introduced legislation requiring all cars coming off the roads to be taken to an approved site, cleaned of pollutants, and the owner issued with a certificate of destruction.

According to the Department for Trade and Industry, two million cars were scrapped every year, but by the end of June this year only 250,000 had received a certificate of destruction.

The Torygraph reports today that the whitehall mandarins have finally acted:

Car owners will be able to have their old vehicles scrapped without payment under a scheme that starts on Jan 1.

Motor manufacturers will be responsible for disposing of their own brands when they are no longer needed, and will issue owners with a certificate of destruction.

The move was prompted by a European directive aimed at ensuring that old cars are scrapped at authorised centres, subject to high environmental standards. About two million cars and vans are scrapped every year, often at considerable cost to the owner.

Yes well done. Instead of soaking the punter they have managed to hit the manufacturers who can't hide. This is in fact a bit of a U turn because the original plans were to ensure that the manufacturers did not pay. One wonders what happens to cars made by bankrupt manufacturers such as Rover?

Needless to say there will be significant further paperwork involved in this process as manufacturers will have to ensure they only pay for their own cars etc. etc. and I have no doubt that, since the manufacturers don't do this for charity, they will find that they have to increase the cost of selling new cars to make up for the cost of this. A cost which will be bigger than it might be because they will have to employ their own paperpushers to provide certificates of destruction and paying the scrappers. It will be interesting to find out whether cars imported into Britian will be covered, and how, and/or whether other EU nations are doing the same thing as I predict that some enterprising people will find a way to ship cars somewhere else to maximise the money they get for scrapping the cars and/or minimise the amoount they have to pay. In fact it would not surprise me to find people working a scam where they accept the car in country A which requires a large payment but actually scrap the car in country B where the disposal costs less. Depending on how much it costs this could even work out as the sort of thing you do personally using Ryanair/Easyjet for your return journey.

This is turn will lead to more regulations and more tracking and so on. Of course the idea of deregulation will never occur to any of the pontiifcators on the subject, still less the idea of copying the American model and making the process tax deductable. The fact that all this was predicted over two years ago at the EU Referendum blog is clearly irrelevant.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin