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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 01:07 GMT
UK 'faces abandoned car mountain'
old cars
Nine million cars are abandoned in Europe each year
Environmental campaigners are warning the government could have a mountain of abandoned cars on its hands if it forces motorists to foot the bill for a new EU law.

The "end of life" green directive requires pollutants, such as oil and brake fluid, to be removed from old cars before they are sent to the crusher.

This means motorist will have to pay up to 100 for compulsory recycling - a move which, the Institute for European Environmental Policy says, will see the number of abandoned vehicles soar.

In a report on the UK government's handling of the directive, the Institute argues it would be more sensible to raise car tax by 5.

Liberal Democrat North West Euro MP, Chris Davies, helped draw up the legislation and dismissed the government's approach as "completely stupid".

He said a good piece of EU legislation could be doomed to failure in the UK, if the policy was implemented.

He told the BBC: "If someone buys an old banger for 100 they will have to pay at least 50 or 60 to have it dealt with at the end of its life.

"The reality is that they are much more likely to find a way to dump it."

Discarded cars

More than two million cars reach the end of their working lives each year in Britain and the directive is designed to encourage their recycling.

The EU wants car manufacturers to take back their old vehicles free of charge and dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way - but this has not happened.

Car makers are refusing to bear the brunt of the cost alone and want car owners and governments to chip in.

It is estimated that nine million cars are discarded in Europe each year, of which a quarter end up on landfill sites.

The directive could see a repeat of last year's 'fridge mountain' when the UK was caught out by an EU directive insisting fridges be recycled properly.

Thousands piled up on local authority waste sites as companies scrabbled to provide suitable recycling facilities.

See also:

11 Jun 02 | Working Lunch
03 Feb 00 | Europe
23 Aug 00 | Scotland
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