End of life vehicles

The below outlines the regulations in regards to dealing with end of life vehicles, offering advice for waste operators and the public.


In Northern Ireland, an estimated 50,000 vehicles come to the end of their life every year. End of life vehicles have the potential to release harmful substances into the environment if they are not stored, treated and disposed of properly.

End of life vehicles are classed as hazardous waste until they have been fully treated and de-polluted. As a result of concerns about the environmental and economic impacts of waste vehicles, the European Union adopted the End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive (2000/53/EC) in October 2000.

End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive

The ELV Directive includes the following provisions:

  • ELVs must only be treated at permitted treatment facilities which meet strict environmental standards.
  • producers (vehicle manufacturers and importers) are to be responsible for the costs of ELV take-back and treatment.
  • producers and other economic operators (such as car dismantlers and shredders) are to establish adequate systems for the take-back and collection of ELVs.
  • the last owner of a vehicle must be able to return their vehicle into collection systems free of charge from January 2007.
  • the last owner of a vehicle must be issued with a Certificate of Destruction for their vehicle.
  • recycling and recovery targets must be met from 2006 (85 per cent recovery with a minimum of 80 per cent recycling) with higher targets from 2015 (95 per cent recovery with a minimum of 85 per cent recycling)

End-of-Life Vehicles regulations

In the UK, the ELV Directive is implemented through ELV Regulations issued in 2003 and 2005. The 2003 regulations deal with treatment standards, site licensing and restricting the use of hazardous substances in new vehicles. The 2005 regulations cover recycling targets and free take-back for ELVs.

Complementary to these ELV Regulations, in Northern Ireland, the licensing of Authorised Treatment Facilities and the site and operating standards with which they must comply is contained in the Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003.

Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs)

ELVs must only be treated at permitted treatment facilities which meet strict environmental standards. These facilities are known as Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs). In Northern Ireland, ATFs are approved and regulated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). 

The guidance document below, commissioned by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) (formerly the Department of Trade and Industry - DTI), describes the procedures for de-pollution of an ELV so that it is no longer hazardous waste:

An application form to be an ATF can be obtained by contacting:

NIEA monitor the licensed ATFs to ensure that they are treating ELVs correctly. We also investigate and take enforcement action against operators of illegal sites. These sites threaten the environment and undermine legitimate operators. It is imperative that the motor trade and members of the public do not provide ELVs to illegal operators.

Check the ATF public register to ensure that you only give your waste vehicles to legal operators.

If you have any information on illegal ELV sites, please contact:

A requirement of the ELV regulations is that the last owner of a waste vehicle is issued with a Certificate of Destruction (CoD). A CoD can only be issued by an ATF. The CoD ensures that the vehicle is treated and disposed of properly and that it is de-registered with the Northern Ireland Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA).


For the public

If your vehicle is ready for the breaker’s yard, you must take it to an Authorised Treatment Facility because scrap vehicles are hazardous waste. Do not give scrap vehicles to unlicensed illegal sites.

The requirements of the End of Life Vehicle legislation are:

  • all waste vehicles must be de-polluted at an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF)
  • ATFs must issue a Certificate of Destruction to the last owner
  • vehicle manufacturers are responsible for ensuring there is an adequate network of ATFs and customers must be offered free take back.

List of NI Licensed ATFs

The list of ATFs in Northern Ireland can be downloaded using the link below:

The ATF will notify the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency that your car has been legally scrapped. If you fail to use an ATF to scrap your vehicle you will be breaking the law.

Vehicle producers have set up service providers to facilitate the collection and free take back of their vehicles:

These service providers have set up networks of ATFs throughout the UK and will be able to advise you on the nearest ATF which will take your make of vehicle free of charge.  It is however recommended that individuals looking to scrap a vehicle should also consult the list of NI Licensed ATFs provided above.

Back to top