Sustainability has risen to become the leading mobility trend over the last few years, and the drive towards greater levels has permeated every major corner of the tyre business. While the focus of pro-environment efforts in the tyre business has often fallen to the tyre recovery sector, developing a Circular Economy necessitates a more holistic industrial input, from raw materials suppliers to manufacturers, from the environmental effects of the tyres in use to the material and energy it is possible to recover from end-of-life tyres. Recognising the fundamental place this theme has in our industry, this month Tyres & Accessories presents the latest news and analysis in the sustainability space, beginning with a general overview of developments in the recycling sector from the British Tyre Manufacturers Association (BTMA)’s perspective.
A quick glance at our recent top 10 articles of 2021 email offers a unique overview of the major themes of the last 12 months. Since most of those issues are ongoing stories, they bring with them a useful insight into some of the things we can expect in 2022 – an insight that can be summarised by these three words: acquisitions, consolidation and sustainability.
The US Energy Information Administration recently forecast that the global light-duty vehicle fleet (essentially cars, vans and pick-ups) would increase by 70 per cent by 2050. Closer to home, the UK Department for Transport has forecast that car and van traffic will increase by 35 per cent and 70 per cent respectively over the next 30 years. By another measure and more immediately, global consumption of natural rubber for tyre manufacture is forecast to increase by 33 per cent by 2030.
Recent years have seen tyre industry interest and investment in sustainability sharply increase. In August the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an uncompromising report warning that “Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system” and adding that “some…are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.” Here, British Tyre Manufacturers Association chief executive, Graham Willson explains why the UN red alert on climate change is a call to action and what it means for the UK tyre industry:
The tyre industry and UK government have produced a best practice guide for van operators and drivers. The guide, available on the British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association website, has been produced to help improve roadworthiness and reduce the risk of tyre-related incident. It is in part a response to the latest data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which shows defective tyres remain consistently the primary reason for roadside prohibitions. They account for between 15 and 22 per cent of these potentially instantaneous bans of the vehicle’s use. Other categories of prohibitions, such as Lamps and Reflectors account on average no more than 7 per cent or 8 per cent, with the majority averaging 4 per cent.
On 1 May 2021 new tyre labelling rules take effect across Europe. Now, the Tyre Industry Federation (TIF – the umbrella body for UK tyre associations BTMA, ITMA and NTDA) has published details of its proactive response to the rules and specifically to their implementation in the post-Brexit environment. In short, cross-industry cooperation means the latest information will be available for the market from 1 May. The UK government Department for Transport (DfT) has welcomed the tyre industry’s approach to the implementation of the new tyre labelling regulations since the solution allows the continued flow of labelling information to consumers despite initial regulatory differences between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (BTMA) is launching a comprehensive update of its guide to tyre management for heavy commercial vehicles. According to the association, the newly-revised edition is the fruit of close collaboration between experts from tyre manufacturers and the DVSA. It also includes valuable contributions from the vehicle operator associations.
The British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association has welcomed new legislation to enforce the tyre labelling regulation from 1 January using civil sanctions. The Department for Transport (DfT) appointed the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Compliance Unit as enforcement authority earlier in 2020, replacing the National Measurement Office. To date, the DfT has conducted 68 “mystery shopper” visits, finding 78 per cent of tyre retailers were not compliant with the requirement to provide the labelling information.
On 26 October 2020, The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 statutory instrument was made. Three days later it was laid before Parliament. It comes into force on 1 February 2021. As a result, 10 year-old and older commercial vehicle tyres will be illegal in the UK from the 1 February 2021. And therefore, the Tyred campaign to ban old and dangerous tyres led by Frances Molloy has achieved a key goal.
An independent advisory committee to the UK Department of Health has found no compelling evidence that exposure to tyre and road wear particles poses a health risk at current UK concentrations. Based on a review of present scientific knowledge, the updated position statement recently published by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) extends to all non-exhaust particles from road transport, including brake wear and road surface particulates.
The rise of low-cost Chinese truck tyre imports in Europe has been well documented in the pages of various issues of our ongoing series of Retreading Special supplements. The resultant risks affecting the industry have led to pan-European awareness-raising and lobbying efforts at a European level. This in turn resulted in a European Commission (EC) investigating and on the impact of Chinese truck tyre imports on European retread sales, which began late last year. Then product registration began in February 2018. The latest news marks something of a victory for retreaders in their bid to revive the business as now we know that tariffs of between 52.85 euros and 82.17 euros per tyre are being applied to all truck and bus radials imported into Europe from China.
Considering the evolution of the retreading market in the UK to fewer and larger players, the Retread Manufacturers’ Association (RMA) has been faced with somewhat dwindling numbers of members. Consolidation has meant fewer distinct companies, which has in turn made for a reduced membership base. However, this does not necessarily equate to the reduced vitality of retreading in the UK – while certainly facing many challenges from the availability of lower-cost new tyres imported from the Far East, retreading has continued to prove relevant to a greater or lesser degree depending on prevailing macroeconomic winds.
Perhaps the most high profile dignitary at Michelin’s “Stoke 2018” event was Clare Perry MP, Minister of State for Climate change and Industrial Strategy. Bearing in mind that retreading and casing inspection/logistics make up such a significant part of what goes on at Michelin’s Campbell Road, Stoke-on-Trent site, and given that over-supply of low-cost truck tyres from China has had a marked effect on this part of the business, Tyres & Accessories was keen to ask Clare Perry what the government can do to help.
The Tyre Industry Federation (TIF), reports that it is aiming to raise awareness of its operations and the progress on matters of national importance through high-profile educational campaigns, engaging with stakeholders and fostering collaboration on key business and sustainability issues. The new plan, follows a comprehensive strategic review undertaken by TIF in order to pinpoint […]