25 May 2017, Athlone Springs Hotel, Athlone, Co. Roscommon
I am delighted to be here today to formally launch the new compliance scheme for the End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) Sector. The introduction of this producer funded compliance scheme approach to the Sector was one of the key recommendations of the Review of the Producer Responsibility Initiative (PRI) model in Ireland, which was conducted on behalf of my Department in 2014.
As a Minister based in rural Ireland, I am fully aware of how affordable vehicles have transformed life in rural Ireland in terms of mobility, accessing goods and services and commuting to work. The vehicle changed the 20th century. High-speed broadband, which we are rolling out across the country, is a similar transformational technology of our age.
However, the vehicle is probably the key symbol of the challenge of achieving sustainability. Vehicles are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions - transport accounts for about 20% of Ireland's emissions and consumes one-third of our energy needs. The manufacture of a car can also create as much emissions as driving it. Making a car also consumes our natural resources: ores for metals, raw materials and fossil fuels for plastics, glass and paints, rubber for tyres. Managing vehicles as waste is a major challenge as we move from a 'use and dispose' society to a circular economy.
The launch of the scheme today is an important first step to put in place the robust structures required to ensure that Ireland continues to meet the recycling and recovery targets set down in the ELV Directive.
Since the advent of the ELV Directive in 2000, Ireland has faced many challenges in meeting our recycling and recovery targets. Indeed, 2012 was the first year where we finally managed to exceed the required targets. However, more onerous targets came into effect in 2015 and these are likely to present a further challenge to industry.
My Department, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will report to the European Commission on Ireland’s 2015 performance under the ELV Directive later this year. However, based on 2014 figures, we are likely to fall some way short of meeting the new targets. (Note - annual reports on target attainment are presented to the Commission 18 months in arrears, so 2015 figures are due by 30 June 2017, no preliminary figures are available at this stage.)
The new compliance scheme approach outlined here today is crucial in ensuring that the correct structures are in place to allow us to meet the new targets going forward. It is incumbent on all of us here today to ensure that we continually strive to improve our recycling performance. Failure is not an option.
I approved End-of-Life Vehicle Environmental Services (ELVES) CLG to act as a compliance scheme for the Sector with effect from the 1st of January this year. Since then, they have been busy signing up producers and putting in place a comprehensive network of Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) across the country.
I would like to thank the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) in particular, for their support in ensuring that the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) stepped up and put in place the necessary funding to establish ELVES CLG.
I would also like to thank the Irish Motor Vehicle Recyclers Association (IMVRA) for their ongoing support for the venture and all of the other members of the ELV Working Group for their efforts over the past 18 months. Your efforts ensured that issues around the formation of the compliance scheme were resolved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders in the Sector. I look forward to seeing the culmination of your hard work bearing fruit in the coming months and years.
However, it is important that we recognise that the compliance scheme approach alone is not a panacea for the Sector. There are still a number of fundamentally important issues, identified in the PRI Review, that remain to be addressed. While the OEM’s have stepped up to the mark regarding their responsibility as producers under the Directive, there remains a substantial cohort of vehicle importers who have not.
The compliance scheme represents a straightforward means for these importers to fulfil their obligations. It is essential that they sign up to the new scheme and pay their proper dues in this regard.
End-of-Life Vehicles were identified as one of four priority areas for enforcement in 2017 by the National Waste Enforcement Steering Committee. I will be asking the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities (WERLAs), as a matter of urgency, to tackle these non-compliant vehicle importers. I would urge all vehicle importers to avail of the opportunity to fulfil their legal obligations under this new scheme.
Rigorous enforcement of the ELV Sector is essential. Businesses importing vehicles must fulfil their legal responsibilities; illegal dismantling operators must be targeted and shut down; the illegal import and export of vehicles remains an issue; while vehicle owners must fulfil their responsibilities when disposing of vehicles.
The work of local authority enforcement officers is crucial and they have been ably supported over the past year by the WERLAs. The development of the WERLA model has led to
- improved coordination within regions,
- greater consistency in enforcement
- increased use of intelligence led, coordinated multi- agency enforcement, and,
- common priorities and objectives for waste enforcement being pursued as part of a broader agenda of securing targeted, timely and effective enforcement outcomes.
It is also important that vehicle owners are fully aware of their responsibilities under ELV legislation. I note that the new compliance scheme’s website, www.elves.ie, is a good source of information in this regard and I look forward to the Scheme’s upcoming awareness campaign.
Other measures proposed by the Scheme to provide ongoing advice and guidance to industry on developments within the Sector are welcome.
I also note with interest that ELVES CLG, in conjunction with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS), are working on the development of the electronic Certificate of Destruction (COD) system. This system will ultimately replace the existing paper based COD system and allow ATFs to electronically report the issuance of CODs directly to the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF). They are also examining measures which would allow ATF’s to electronically report the required statistical data on their treatment operations directly to the EPA.
The ongoing roll out of broadband across the country is a key element in assisting us in moving away from current inefficient paper based reporting systems. I would like to take this opportunity to provide a brief update on the progress of the National Broadband Plan (NBP), which aims to deliver high speed broadband services to every city, town, village, school, house and business in Ireland. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment by the telecommunications sector and a State intervention in those areas where commercial investment has not been fully demonstrated. My Department has created a Map which is available on www.broadband.gov.ie and I would encourage you all to have a look at it. You can enter your address or Eircode and look up your own homes and businesses to get an idea of when you will receive access to High Speed Broadband.
Looking at County Roscommon in particular, there are 39,117 premises. 18,688 of these (48%) are located in the Amber (State Intervention) area on the Map; while the remaining 20,429 (52%) are located in the commercial BLUE area and will be served by commercial operators. Ultimately, the rollout of high speed broadband in the Roscommon and Westmeath areas will serve to empower stakeholders responsible for numerous projects and sectors.
The emerging focus on the circular economy across Europe means that we need to give greater consideration to the use of resources and the production of waste throughout the supply chain. Where end-of-life vehicles are generated, they need to be considered first and foremost as a resource. We must bring creative and innovative thinking to bear, to ensure that what was traditionally considered a waste is now treated as a valuable resource.
Industry, producers, shredder-facilities and ATFs need to be aware of the rapid technological advances being made throughout the Sector. We all have a responsibility, from design stage through to end-of-life treatment, to provide innovative solutions to ensure that all vehicles create a minimal environmental impact, not just at end-of-life, but throughout their life cycle.
Vehicle owners have an important role to play, not just in ensuring that their vehicles are correctly disposed of at end-of-life, but in taking measures to promote fuel efficiency in the use of their vehicles. Eco-driving can assist in increasing the fuel efficiency of all vehicle types. Simple measures such as avoiding dead weight, shifting gears correctly, maintaining a steady speed, checking tyre pressures, and using air conditioning sparingly can lead to average fuel savings of 5 to 10 percent.
Over recent years, cars have become more energy efficient, due mainly to EU legislation which set mandatory emission reduction targets for new cars. This legislation is the cornerstone of the EU's strategy to improve the fuel economy of cars sold on the European market.
To meet our climate change targets and air quality objectives, the transport sector must transition from the use of oil over the next two decades, and must move predominantly to electricity for passenger cars, commuter rail and taxis by 2050. It is Ireland’s ambition that all new cars and vans sold in this country from 2050 will be zero emission, or zero-emission capable.
In this regard, my own Department and the Department of Transport are co-chairing a Low Emission Vehicles Task Force. The work of this task force has been divided into two phases, with the first phase focusing on Electric Vehicles (EVs), including Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles.
The Task Force expects to report its recommendations to Government on this first phase shortly. These recommendations will suggest a range of options for facilitating greater uptake of EVs in the coming years.
Increasing numbers of EVs have been registered in Ireland particularly in the last three years. To date, the purchase of over 2,000 electric vehicles has been supported under the Electric Vehicles Grant Scheme. 332 of these EVs were grant aided in the first 4 months of this year. The scheme, which has been in place since 2011, provides grant aid of up to €5,000 towards the purchase of a new full battery EV or Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles. These grants are in addition to VRT reliefs of up to €5,000, which also apply to EVs.
I am pleased to note that the compliance scheme are already putting in place measures to ensure that batteries from hybrid and electric vehicles will be properly treated at end-of-life.
Make no mistake, the new ELV targets introduced in 2015 will be challenging. It has taken us a long time to put in place the necessary structures to allow us to meet the initial targets of the ELV Directive. The introduction of the compliance scheme approach will play a crucial role in improving our performance in this area and enabling us to meet the new more stringent targets. All of the stakeholders here today have a key role to play, producers and importers of vehicles, the shredder industry, the authorised treatment facility network across the country and the various enforcement agencies. We must all continue to work together to ensure success.
The ELV Working Group established by my Department will continue to oversee the operation of the compliance scheme and monitor overall performance in the ELV sector.
The launch of this scheme is only a first step, but it is a hugely important first step. We must all ensure that it delivers the necessary results. My Department will not be found wanting in helping to provide the necessary regulatory framework to support this goal.
In conclusion, I would like to wish all of you here today every success in your continuing endeavours to ensure that, in future, end-of-life vehicles are treated as a valuable resource around which a successful industry can be maintained and enhanced, and are not a costly ongoing waste problem.