Battle lines drawn on EU car recycling plan

Germany, France, UK, line up against key elements of Commission's end-of-life vehicles proposal

Three of the EU's largest states are set to clash with the other 12 over a draft law to reduce environmental impacts of scrap cars, it has emerged. As discussions begin in the EU Council of Ministers on the Commission's proposal for an end-of-life vehicles directive, Germany, France and the UK look to be the main opponents to key parts of the plan. Austria has made the directive one of the environmental priorities of its six-month presidency of the EU and is hoping to achieve a common position at a ministerial meeting in December (ENDS Daily 8 July). At a meeting of Council officials last week, the three countries flagged up serious concerns over three main issues. The first is a proposal that 80% of cars by weight should be reused or recycled by 2005, rising to 85% by 2015. The second is a provision for the last owner of a car to be reimbursed by the manufacturer for the expense of scrapping a car. The third is a proposed ban on the use of lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium in vehicles sold from 2003. A diplomat said that manufacturers would find it costly, and in some cases impossible to replace these materials - for example, lead, which is added to steel to make it more malleable. The diplomat said that the British-French-German group would push for an amendment allowing manufacturers to continue using these until suitable replacements could be found..

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