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 (OPSS).

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.

Extent of obligation

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 to 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
Ground Floor
Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street

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 II of the ELV Directive 2000/53/EC (as last amended by Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/362 of 17 December 2019; no further amendments will be applied to this Annex after 31 December 2020). 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 e.g. producers can upload the required data to the International Dismantling Information System (IDIS) for use by Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs).

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
Ground Floor
Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street

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 (ODT, 20.1 KB)

Aggregated figures for 2018 provided to European Commission (ODS, 8.79 KB)

The role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)

OPSS 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

Download ELV leaflet (PDF, 617 KB, 4 pages)

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

Where to find out more

ELVs Regulations 2003 (as amended)

ELVs (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005 (as amended)

ELVs (Storage and Treatment) (Scotland) Regulations 2003

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.)

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about compliance or wish to contact us regarding suspected non-compliance please email

Alternatively you can contact our helpdesk on 0121 345 1201.

Or in writing to:

Office for Product Safety and Standards
4th Floor Cannon House
18 The Priory Queensway
B4 6BS
United Kingdom

Published 1 April 2015
Last updated 1 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated at the end of the transition period to reflect minor amendments to the regulations, which do not impact on how to comply.

  2. EU Exit Update

  3. Booklet summarising the requirements added.

  4. Page updated and extended to cover producer registration.

  5. First published.