Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Further memorandum by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

  I am pleased to let you have the additional information you require for the Trade and Industry Committee's inquiry into the economic impact of the End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive.

  It is estimated that 1.8 million vehicles reach the end of their life each year. The vast majority of these are cars and light vans. Article 5 of the Directive requires the last keeper of such a vehicle to be issued with a Certificate of Destruction (CoD).

  The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has already begun to link electronically with companies in the salvage and dismantling industry. Currently, the system is "one-way" with information coming to DVLA. The system will be enhanced to become a "two-way" link and will facilitate the issue of the required CoD. The system is being developed to support a minimum of two million notifications per year. We are now in the process of rolling out the existing link so that vehicle information can be handled more efficiently. The pilot gives users 24-hour access to DVLA and by carefully monitoring its use we shall be able to ensure that the CoD system is capable of coping with the peaks and troughs of the busiest user.

  Article 5 of the Directive is due to come into force on 21 April 2002. It is highly unlikely that a fully automated system to issue CoDs can be rolled out to all by then. DVLA is currently building the computer infrastructure and timing of the rollout will depend on how many authorised treatment facilities are permitted to issue certificates. Currently the figure is anticipated to be around 2,000.

  Details of the safeguards which will be in place to ensure that an ELV will not be returned to the road have not yet been finalised. The electronic notification system will include a series of stringent vehicle identity checks to ensure that the correct vehicle is identified and notified to DVLA. The automated system will be designed to prevent a CoD from being issued for a vehicle that has already been notified as scrapped. Such requests will be fully investigated and may be inspected by the police if they are suspect.

  Mistakes will be made with human error always a possibility. That is why the DTI consultation document included a proposal that vehicles with a "Q" prefix number (eg Q123 ABC) which indicates that a vehicle is of indeterminate origin. All vehicles issued with a "Q" number are inspected and where the vehicle's identity can not be ascertained, the police may be asked to investigate. Final decisions will be taken following assessment of the responses to the public consultation.

  Finally, the European Commission issued a working document on the minimum CoD requirements on 6 September. A discussion with the Commission and other Member States took place on 2 October but a final proposal is not expected until January next year. These minimum requirements, as known so far, have been taken into account in designing the DVLA system. Contingencies are in place to ensure that subsequent changes will not impact adversely on the project.

Director External and Corporate Services

9 November 2001

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