Concerns that Covid-19 measures may lead to stockpiling of ELT in the UK.
The UK’s TRA Warns that Permit Relaxations Could cause Future Challenge
The UK tyre recycling sector was facing challenges before Lockdown – exports to India were down, and as the largest European exported of bales waste tyres to India this impacted on the collection rates as gate fees started to climb.
This, in turn, created opportunities for rogue collectors to undercut licensed operators, who were struggling to stay afloat despite increasing collection fees.
During the Coronavirus crisis, the Environment Agency (EA) allowed some latitude in the storage limits stated in Permits, this allowed for some breathing space for collectors and recyclers alike.
Now, the TRA is urging the EA to exercise increased vigilance over operators who use the current relaxation of stockpile permitting rules to increase the storage of waste tyres beyond levels they have the financial resources to recycle responsibly. “Operators face multiple challenges at this present difficult moment,” says TRA Secretary General, Peter Taylor however; “With little income just now, businesses still have overheads to meet while recycling gate prices are very much higher than at this time even a year ago. Furthermore, cash flows are under pressure like never before. The temptations are obvious, and some will undoubtedly be driven to take in the nation’s old tyres at prices well below what are now necessary to move them properly through our recycling infrastructure.
“I suspect that many are being driven more by hope than expectations and faced with this financial reality will simply ‘dump and run’ leaving property owners and the public purse with yet again an ugly and expensive problem. We must not allow this to happen. We can all play our part,” continues Taylor, “the EA and our other regulators must continue to offer help to operators but at the same time apply the test of realism in their role as enforcers.”
“What comes in can only go out if input and output cost realities match up. We, ourselves, in the tyre industry must also apply the realism test. A price too tempting is one which in all probability is also one which compromises our legal Duty of Care.”