Last updated September 9th, 2022
If you’ve been researching how to scrap your car, you’ve likely seen references to ATFs. For those unfamiliar, ATF stands for ‘Authorised Treatment Facility’, a vehicle dismantler, scrapyard or breaker’s yard which follows a strict set of rules and regulations when dismantling and disposing of vehicles. These regulations are known as the ELV (End-of-Life Vehicles) guidelines and are monitored by the Environment Agency.
Read on to learn about how ATFs work, the standards they have to meet - and how to find your local ATF.
An Authorised Treatment Facility is a vehicle dismantler, scrapyard or breaker’s yard that operates under a set of strict regulations for the safe and responsible disposal of vehicles. These regulations are known as the ELV (end of life vehicle) guidelines and are monitored by the Environment Agency.
Here are some of the benefits around scrapping your vehicle with an ATF:
Vehicles scrapped with an ATF are generally recycled, which saves landfill space and lowers the use of natural resources in vehicle manufacturing.
Many ATFs offer financial incentives to drivers presenting their vehicle for recycling or scrapping.
Many ATFs have the ability to process a variety of vehicles, from passenger cars to transit vans.
Authorised Treatment Facilities are required to issue a Certificate of Destruction, which proves that you are no longer responsible for your vehicle.
The Environment Agency (EA) are responsible for the regular monitoring of ATFs across the UK. These checks ensure that staff and facilities are capable of thoroughly following and upholding the ELV (End of Life Vehicles) guidelines, including putting the correct health, safety and environmental measures in place for the safe disposal of vehicles. The EA also ensures a high standard of business operations in authorised treatment facilities.
The standards that ATFs must follow are set by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and are split into the following four categories:
The prompt issuing of CoD documents acquired by the Authorised Treatment Facilities through the DVLA.
The safe removal of potentially hazardous substances and materials from the vehicle before disposal.
The safe handling and storage of vehicle parts.
Meeting targets for recycling and recovery of vehicles and providing evidence of this.
You can check whether or not a scrapyard is ATF registered by searching for the facility on the DEFRA website’s ATF registry search tool. You don’t need all the facility’s details (permit number, for example), but should provide the local authority and address of the ATF if you can.
It’s against the law for anyone to accept your car for scrap if they do not hold an ATF license. This is due to the hazardous materials within the vehicle and the effect that they may have on health, safety and the environment if they aren’t dealt with properly.
The first step in scrapping a car is to depollute the vehicle safely and thoroughly. This is a labour-intensive process and involves the removal of:
Once these materials and substances are safely removed, the ATF will then ensure that all elements are recycled, reused, stored or appropriately disposed of.
Authorised Treatment Facilities are required to issue a Certificate of Destruction within 24 hours of the vehicle being scrapped. These are acquired through the DVLA and will be posted out to the vehicle’s previous owner within 7 days.
Yes! True to our name, we absolutely will buy any car - including those considered scrap-worthy. If you’re looking for a faster, simpler alternative to selling to an ATF, we are here for you.
All the cars we buy are sold on through auction, sometimes to scrap metal dealers. However, in many cases, vehicles deemed ‘scrap’ by their former owners are faithfully restored to roadworthy condition and given a second lease of life!
Anyone wishing to open an ATF must first obtain planning permission from their local council and ensure that they have secured a site that is fit for purpose, acquire the correct environmental permit for all treatments and services to be carried out on the site - and obtain a scrap metal dealer’s licence from the local authority. For further information, you should contact the Environment Agency and explain that you’d like to begin the ATF registration process.