Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling


Setting Up A New ELV Business

Paul Downing
Paul Downing

ATF Professional receives many calls from people asking how they can go about setting up an ELV business especially with regard to what paperwork is required. We got in touch with Paul Downing, Environmental Consultant to talk through some of the main points for those wishing to set up.

As an environmental consultant, I help companies set up their vehicle depollution/breakers businesses by helping with planning applications and environmental permits. I also get numerous requests from potential small operators wanting to set up a new Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) to depollute and break vehicles, usually to sell the parts on eBay.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I get asked on how to get started with my responses.

Q: Can I apply for an environmental permit if I haven’t got a site yet?

A: No, it is an “environmental” permit so location context is everything. What type of permit you can apply for and how the site needs to be laid out depends on where it is, how big it is, how close it is to SSSI’s, rivers and other sensitive receptors. The permit is tied to the area of land.

Q: Will I definitely be granted a permit to operate once I apply to the Environment Agency?

A: No, treat the permit application like a planning application. If you meet all the criteria you will get a permit but there is no guarantee.

Q: I only want to break a few cars a week, will this make it easier for me to apply?

A: Unfortunately you will have to meet the same criteria as everyone else, even if you only plan to open a small-scale depollution operation. You might find that as a small scale operator it isn’t financially viable to apply for a permit or to set up the business if you plan on keeping it very small.

Q: Why do I have to submit a fire prevention plan (FPP) with my permit application? I know other yards who do not have to do this and don’t have all of the requirements in place.

A: The fire prevention guidance for new permit applications came in 2016. If you are applying for a new permit or variation since then, then you need to comply straight away. The EA will gradually get older business with licences to comply over time.

Q: Do I have to implement CCTV, security measures, fire suppression, sealed drainage and other FPP guidance criterial before I am granted my permit?

A: Not necessarily, the EA will approve your permit on the basis of what you say you are going to do in the FPP. However they will expect you to implement your FPP as soon as the permit is issued. In some cases they may request certain measures are in place before the permit is issued.

Q: How long will it take to get my permit?

A: You should allow 5-7 months for a standard rules permit, a few months more if you have to apply for a bespoke permit.

Fore more information visit or call Paul on 07790147084.


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.