Assessment of the implementation of Directive 2000/53/EU on end-of-life vehicles (the ELV Directive) with emphasis on the end of life vehicles of unknown whereabouts

Under the Framework Contract: Assistance to the Commission on technical, socio-economic and cost benefit assessments related to the implementation and further development of EU waste legislation

Vehicles of ‘unknown whereabouts’ are vehicles that are deregistered but without a Certificate of Destruction (CoD) issued or available to the authorities and also with no information available indicating that the vehicle has been treated in an ATF or has been exported. It is known from previous studies that the number of vehicles of unknown whereabouts is about 3 to 4 million vehicles per year, compared to around 6 to 7 million ELVs treated in compliance with the ELV Directive and reported to Eurostat.
The Commission has received complaints that raise concerns as to the environmental impact of vehicles of unknown whereabouts as well as in relation to distortions of the fair business practices for the commercial ELV management across Europe.

ELVs, when not depolluted or treated, are classified as hazardous waste. Spilled or burned engine oil and unsafe FCHC handling from air conditioners can cause particular environmental and human health concerns. In result each year between 20 and 55 million litres of hazardous non-fuel liquids3 are unaccounted for. Unsafe handling of the acid from lead-acid batteries and unsafe treatment, e.g. burning of plastics from ELVs, also pose grave concerns.

Because of the high number of EU vehicles of unknown whereabouts, whose materials and content may be valuable and can potentially cause significant environmental harm without proper treatment, and to reduce the distortion of the legal market by illegal activities, the Commission aims to further investigate the reasons for missing ELVs within the EU.
Against this background the EC requested a study to assess the implementation of the ELV Directive with emphasis on the ELVs of unknown whereabouts, aiming:
- to identify the causes for the ‘unknown whereabouts’;
- to identify options to overcome the incomplete implementation of the ELV Directive; and
- to assess if the actions of the MS are sufficient to fully enforce the ELV Directive in order to achieve its objectives.

For this purpose the current situation was assessed and concepts for improvement were developed. A public consultation was held from 29 June to 21 September 2016 and the contractor prepared a questionnaire addressed to the registration authorities of all EU MS and a stakeholder workshop in November 2016.