End-of-life vehicle directive finalised with producer responsibility intact

Final meetings between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers have ended with agreement on the End-of-Live Vehicles Directive. Parliament's attempts to water down the directive failed. Bans on several toxic materials and car makers' responsibility for the free 'take back' of vehicles have been agreed.


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The aim of the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive, which should come into force at the beginning of next year, is to increase the rate of re-use and recycling of vehicles components. Car manufacturers have fiercely opposed the directive’s proposals on producer responsibility (see related story), but in the end, they have lost and will be expected to meet “all or a significant part of the take-back costs” of end-of-life vehicles.

For vehicles sold from 1 January 20001, car makers will be immediately responsible for the costs of ‘take back’. For vehicles sold prior to 2001, car makers will have to pay for ‘take back’ from 1 January 2007.

The Council of Ministers points out that the agreement allows EU member states to make manufacturers pay for ‘take back’ prior to 2007 if they so wish.

Bans on lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium have been postponed from the originally-proposed 18 months after the directive enters into force until 2003. The attempt by Parliament Rapporteur Karl-Heinz Florenz – who has been accused by environmental groups of representing the interests of car manufacturers (see related story) – to delay the bans until 2005 was unsuccessful, in part due to a EC-commissioned report that showed the bans are feasible and would not cost manufacturers as much as much as they had claimed (see related story).

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