Nearly 50% exemption-holding end-of-life tyre collector sites non-compliant
Environment Agency figures confirm fears of rise in operators claiming T8 exemptions not conforming to legal framework
The “worst fears” of the Tyre Recovery Association have been confirmed by Environment Agency data confirming a rise in levels of non-compliance by many end-of-life tyre (ELT) claiming ‘T8 exemptions’ for their businesses. EA inspections conducted in the first eight months of 2020 showed almost 50 per cent of sites visited failed to meet legal requirements. This is considerably worse than comparative data from 2019. Inspections of almost sixty sites carried out by the EA across England last year revealed over one-third to be legally non-compliant. prices typically charged by recyclers to accept end of life tyres from collectors have almost doubled since the start of the year.
The TRA had previously warned of the potential rise in illegal activity in early 2020, explaining that the historic lows in reprocessing rates could not be sustained in the context of new environmental laws in popular export markets. It said more recently that many smaller collectors had been slow to recognise new market conditions. Holding large quantities of old tyres collected at prices too low to fund current reprocessing costs, the association says sites could face abandonment. The situation has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the temporary relaxation of storage limits brought in to tackle potential issues around state enforced lockdowns. This relaxation ended on 30 September.
“This confirms all our worst fears,” said Peter Taylor, TRA secretary general, “T8 exemptions were intended to offer a ‘light’ touch regulating regime under which small businesses could operate but instead it has been very widely abused as we have long argued. In very many cases this approach allowed irresponsible players to flout the law yet enjoy levels of overhead and compliance well below those of fully permitted businesses. We are pleased that government now intends to end this gateway to poor practice.”
The Tyre Recovery Association urges all those disposing of ELTs and especially vehicle dismantlers and tyre retailers to carefully scrutinise the compliance status of those to whom they pass on their waste. TRA adds that their own legal Duty of Care demands this level of vigilance.
The TRA adds that its Responsible Recycler Scheme provides assurance of best practice. RRS members are audited and re-certificated annually and endeavour always to maintain high standards of service and compliance.
The latest EA data was revealed by a freedom of information request submitted by Tyre & Rubber Recycling magazine.