On Wednesday 18th November, a ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution which included the ban on new petrol and diesel cars in the UK from 2030 was set out by the Prime Minister. But how will this affect the vehicle recycling industry?
The plan – which is part of the PM’s mission to level up across the country, is expected to mobilise £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.
One of the Prime Minister’s ten points includes electric vehicles which state: ‘backing our world-leading car manufacturing bases including in the West Midlands, North East and North Wales to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming our national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles.’
Following extensive consultation with car manufacturers and sellers, the Prime Minister has confirmed that the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, ten years earlier than planned. However, the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035 will be allowed.
Government will also launch a consultation on the phase-out of new diesel HGVs to put the UK in the vanguard of zero-emission freight. No date has been set yet.
What do those in the vehicle recycling industry think about the plan? We asked some stakeholders for their views:
A spokesperson from SYNETIQ said:
“We are already well versed on the processing of EVs and are about to make an exciting announcement regarding investment in capacity and capability on this.
We will of course be reviewing the Governments 10 point plan as part of our existing sustainability strategy; this will ensure our plans and timings are as robust as we believe them to be currently.
We are interested and excited to see how these announcements impact on the industry – specifically in the green parts arena, as we believe in some cases that conventionally fuelled vehicles may have stay on the road for longer until EVs are more affordable for many users.”
This is what Alan Colledge – Senior Manager, Cawleys Hazardous Waste had to say on the news:
“This news is both welcome and quite the challenge for many reasons. So much has to be prepared by car manufactures, domestic electrical infrastructure, nationwide fast-charging networks, battery manufacturing and the government. The other major consideration is the supply chain and circular economy – we have 130 years practice on how to recycle an internal combustion car, but a lot less with a Lithium battery. That said, there is already a new community of recyclers handling the batteries of today and preparing for the increased volumes of the future and it is very exciting times for companies like Cawleys right now.”
Andy Latham Managing Director of Salvage Wire was very positive saying:
“There have been many comments over the last few days on this subject, some good, many not so. However, I see this as a massive opportunity for the vehicle recycling industry.
An opportunity to learn; an opportunity to grow professional standards; an opportunity to be at the table on discussions about vehicle recycling and influence policy and regulation and an opportunity to be recognised.
Why do I say this? An integral part of this whole policy is reducing carbon emissions, and the vehicle recycling industry is one of the oldest recycling industries in the world, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive change, improvement and advancement into our industry, recognise the need for proper and correct legislation and, more importantly, regulation that will drive out illegal operations by favouring those businesses that complete their role fully and help the country achieve net carbon zero.”
Neil Joslin, COO at e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management said:
“As a national network of salvage and recycling agents, we welcome the Government’s greener vehicles initiative and the announcement that new sales of petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. Our network members are already handling EV salvage and staff are trained in the relevant skills to dismantle, depollute and harvest appropriate reclaimed parts from EVs safely and effectively. This will continue and scale up as demand rises, linked to the increasing volume of EVs on the road. To give some context, it is estimated there is currently less than 164,000 pure electric cars on the road and less than 373,000 plug-in cars; combined this represents less than 2% of total cars, although that figure is rising. In 2020, electric car registrations account for around 10% of all new car registrations.
Whilst 2030 is indeed only 9 years off, there will continue to be a transition period after this point, with millions of existing petrol and diesel cars still on the road. For context, in June this year, 31.6m cars were licensed in GB, with stock increasing year on year. The average age of petrol cars licensed was 9.1 years and diesel 7.3 years. Recyclers will have a key role to play in sourcing reclaimed parts for these vehicles, given that manufacturers will no longer be building them in the same way. And when they reach end of life or are involved in an accident that categorises them a total loss; recovering, depolluting and processing them for reclaimed parts and salvage.
Company cars consistently represent circa 8-10% of all cars on the road, and circa 59% of new sales. Fleet operators have historically updated their fleets regularly which is why they represent such a high proportion of new sales. With this in mind, it is likely that we will see fleet clients replacing their petrol and diesel stock with EVs sooner than many private consumer motorists, particularly if they can take advantage of government incentives at scale. Our network will continue to support fleet operators whilst they make the transition and going forward with fully electric fleets.”