Bandvulc Director Tires of Govt’s Recycled Arguments Against Retreads
Bandvulc director, Richard O’Connell, has received a government letter confirming his fears that retreaders will continue to be unfairly penalised for the foreseeable future. After a four year fight to be heard, Richard O’ Connell, director of Ivybridge based Bandvulc Tyres, thinks his struggle has finally reached a dead end, his argument having continually fallen on deaf ears.
O’Connell had thought that by confronting Ben Bradshaw MP at labour’s last annual conference, taking the opportunity to express his Industry’s frustration on stage and asking that the government allow it the same benefits as its new tyre counterparts, his efforts would at least lead to an open discussion. Instead, the Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare has written a letter O’Connell says, clearly demonstrates the Government is totally misinformed about the benefits of retreading.
“The Government just isn’t interested in recycling when it comes to putting their hands in their pockets,” says O’Connell who was recently invited by the Government Car and Despatch Agency to put forward the case for retreads – only, however, after the department had allocated its tyre contract. “It was a total farce. The Government clearly has no desire to support the British Retreading Industry. With no-one willing to look into our concerns we’re just being fobbed off at every turn,” he adds.
There are many ways Government policy has made Bandvulc have to compete on a spectacularly uneven playing field against the ‘giants’ of the tyre industry. Most of all the ridiculous rules imposed on it by the Climate Change Levy (CCL).
The retreading industry has to pay 100 per cent of the CCL on the energy it consumes whereas new tyre manufacturers only pay 20 per cent. By becoming more efficient and lowering its energy costs per tyre, Bandvulc has fallen far below the Government’s required threshold for an exemption from the Levy.
“The CCL rewards high energy users but penalises the relatively low energy users,” says Richard. “It effectively says that if you drive a large 4×4 car that consumes a lot of fuel you will be subsidised because it’s expensive to run. However, if you drive a small economy car that is efficient you’ll be penalised because you can afford to spend the money that you’ve saved on fuel,” he explains.
“It’s up to the tyre recycling industry to guarantee that its product is equal in every respect to a new premium tyre,” Ben Bradshaw writes after suggesting in his letter that retreaded tyres are not ‘economically viable, do not last as long and have to be replaced more frequently.” David Wilson from the Retread Manufacturers Association strongly disagrees: “By law retreaded tyres have to be tested to the same performance criteria as new tyres. It has also been established that retreading is the most environmentally friendly way to use worn out tyres and save valuable natural resources. The government’s viewpoint seems a little dated.”
In the USA, the Government gives retreads a little bit more credibility than our own creating a policy that sees 25 per cent of them fitted on government vehicles. “Our green credentials are just not being recognised – an oversight that we’ll continue to pay for,” says Richard O’Connell.
The UK truck retreading industry, half of which still lies in the hands of family companies, produces around one million truck retreads every year, saving an estimated 15 million gallons of oil and 44,000 tonnes of rubber.