Regulations: end-of-life vehicles (ELVs)

Guidance for manufacturers and importers.


Vehicles are regulated to limit the environmental impact of their disposal, by reducing the amount of waste created when they are scrapped. This is done through various measures to encourage the recovery, reuse and recycling of metals, plastics and rubber.

The provisions extend to:

  1. producer registration
  2. materials and components
  3. free vehicle take-back
  4. recovery and recycling targets

Responsibility for enforcing the regulations is shared by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (Safety & Standards).

The End-of-life Vehicles Regulations 2003 (as amended) and the End-of-life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005 (as amended) are the underpinning legislation.

What is covered?

The regulations cover all cars (with up to 9 seats) and small vans (of up to 3.5 tonnes), including components made for them. End-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are motor vehicles categorised as waste, generally due to age or accident.

Who is responsible for compliance?

The producer – the manufacturer or importer – placing the vehicle or component on the UK market is responsible for compliance. (Private individuals importing vehicles are not liable.)

Your information will be entered on a public register, which will be updated whether you meet your ELV requirements or not.

You could receive an unlimited fine if you don’t follow the regulations.

How do I comply?

1 Producer registration

Producers must register with Defra if they manufacture or import cars or small vans (classed as M1 or N1).

To register, send the following information to the ELV Registrations Unit:

  • the name of your business
  • the name, address and telephone number of your registered office or main place of business
  • the address for serving notices (if different from the above)
  • a description of the vehicles that you are declaring responsibility for placing on the market

ELV Registrations Unit
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Area 2B
Nobel House
17 Smith Square

2 Materials and components

Materials and components for cars and small vans must not contain cadmium, lead, mercury or hexavalent chromium, unless covered by a specific exemption (in Annex 2 of the ELV Directive). This requirement does not apply to spares, replacement or service parts for vehicles placed on the UK market prior to 1 July 2003.

Certain plastic and rubber parts weighing over 200 grams (apart from tyres) must be marked in accordance with the regulations to promote their recovery, reuse and recycling.

Technical documents showing that vehicles, materials and components comply with the heavy metals restrictions and marking standards for plastic and rubber parts must be retained for at least four years.

Within six months of placing a new type of vehicle on the UK market, public information must be provided on the materials and any hazardous substances it uses, together with guidance on how its components can be dismantled, reused or recovered. This information must be easily accessible by potential buyers, for example in promotional literature and manuals, or on websites and relevant databases.

International Dismantling Information System

3 Free take-back

Producers must provide a convenient network of authorised treatment facilities (ATFs), or make acceptable alternative arrangements, offering free take-back for their brands when they become ELVs.

Defra must approve all take-back schemes prior to their implementation.

ELV Registration Unit
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Area 2B
Noble House
17 Smith Square

The four geographic environment agencies enforce the regulations for ATFs where ELVs are dismantled. ATFs operate under an environmental permit in England and Wales (or waste management licence in Northern Ireland and Scotland). They must meet relevant standards in relation to the:

  • storage and treatment of ELVs
  • removal of hazardous liquids and components from ELVs (depollution)
  • reuse, recycling or disposal of parts

ELVs are classified as hazardous waste in England and Wales and special waste in Scotland until depolluted, and must be handled accordingly.

ATFs issue certificates of destruction to confirm that individual ELVs have been processed in accordance with the regulations, at which point they are deregistered by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

End-of-life vehicles: guidance for waste sites (Environment Agency)

This summarises the requirements for applying to become an ATF and includes links to specific guidance on depolluting ELVs.

4 Recovery and recycling targets

Producers must meet annual targets for their brands, currently 95 per cent recovery and 85 per cent recycling by average weight of each ELV. Where ATFs accept vehicles outside a producers free take-back network, they take on the responsibility for meeting the annual targets. Details on recovery, reuse and recycling rates must be submitted to Defra each year.

ELVs: guidance and reporting table

Aggregated figures for 2015 provided to European Commission (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 19.5KB)

What is the role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards?

Safety & Standards has been appointed by Defra to enforce the regulations in the UK in relation to:

  • restrictions on heavy metals
  • marking requirements for rubber and plastic parts
  • publication of design and dismantling information

Defra enforces other aspects of the regulations, including the requirements for producers to:

  • register their brands
  • have a convenient free take-back network in place
  • meet recovery and recycling targets

ELVs regulations: booklet (PDF, 5.63MB, 4 pages)

Where can I find out more?

ELVs Regulations 2003

ELVs (Amendment) Regulations 2010

ELVs (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005

ELVs (Producer Responsibility) (Amendment) Regulations 2010

ELVs (Storage and Treatment) (Scotland) Regulations 2003

ELVs (European Commission)

This includes a link to the ELVs Directive 2000.

Environmental permitting guidance: ELVs Directive

This gives guidance on the storage and treatment of ELVs in England and Wales. (Other provisions of the ELVs Directive are applied by the ELVs Regulations 2003 and 2005.)

If you have a specific enquiry about compliance with the regulations, please use the contact details on the BEIS Safety & Standards enforcement services page.

Subscribe to our free email alert service to keep up to date on the latest developments concerning the legislation that Safety & Standards enforces.

Published 1 April 2015
Last updated 19 June 2019 + show all updates
  1. Booklet summarising the requirements added.
  2. Page updated and extended to cover producer registration.
  3. First published.