Letter from the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt
MP Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to Martin O'Neill
MP, Chairman of the Trade and Industry Committee
I welcome the decision of the Trade and Industry
Committee to investigate the economic impact of the End of Life
Vehicles (ELV) Directive.
As you will know, my Department issued its consultation
paper on 10 August which set out the Government's preliminary
views on the options for implementing the ELV Directive. We have
invited comments from all interested parties on these and any
other possible options by 2 November and will then decide the
best way forward, taking into account the responses we receive.
We have kept in close touch with industry on this Directive throughout
the implementation process to date and have made it clear that
we will also be happy to continue meeting them to discuss the
issues during the consultation period. It seems to me that the
timing of your inquiry is also helpful in this regard and we will
certainly look to take full account of your findings.
Whilst it would be wrong therefore for me to
prejudge the best way forward, it may be helpful for me to set
out the guiding principles that the Government has adopted for
implementing the directive.
We intend to implement the Directive with a
light regulatory touch. The Directive contains a number of exemptionsmany
won by the UK during negotiationsand allows us partly to
implement through voluntary agreements. We have no intention of
"gold plating" and will take full advantage of these
provisions where possible.
We also intend to maintain the broadly level
playing field between the main car-producing Member States. Every
Member State will implement the Directive differently and we cannot
guarantee exact parity with one State or anotherbut we
have no intention of damaging the competitiveness of the UK vehicles
industry and take their concerns very seriously.
It seems likely, however, that there will be
treatment and recycling costs connected with the Directive from
the outset in 2002. One key question facing the Government is
who should meet these costs, particularly between 2002 and 2006.
We recognise that these costs will be significant and will be
giving this issue very careful consideration.
I hope this is helpful.
27 September 2001