Last updated September 09, 2022
A Certificate of Destruction (CoD) is a document that proves a vehicle is no longer on the road, has been disposed of correctly – and is therefore no longer the owner’s responsibility. CoDs are only given to licensed Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs), operations that are legally approved to carry out the processing and recycling of vehicles.
By law, a Certificate of Destruction must be issued by the DVLA whenever you scrap your car. The ATF that processed and recycled your vehicle should issue a Certificate of Destruction to confirm this within 24 hours.
The purpose of a Certificate of Destruction is simply to notify the DVLA and the owner of the vehicle that it has been destroyed. The only time that you’ll need a Certificate of Destruction is when you have handed over your vehicle to an ATF for recycling or scrapping.
As a Certificate of Destruction can only be issued to a valid ATF permit holder, the ATF must request the CoD themselves. This can then be issued to you, the driver who presented the vehicle for destruction. Keep in mind that, once issued, a Certificate of Destruction cannot be copied or replaced if lost.
A Certificate of Destruction must be issued within 24 hours of the vehicle being destroyed. Some ATFs may allow you to collect the CoD in person or, they may post it out to you, which generally takes around a week from the day the vehicle was scrapped.
Even if you have a Certificate of Destruction, you’ll still need to notify the DVLA that you have sold your vehicle for recycling. This is your responsibility and not the ATF’s, as failing to do so means that the vehicle is still legally registered in your name.
If a Certificate of Destruction has been issued in error, it can be reversed by the ATF through the DVLA. However, the CoD reversal process lasts around 6 to 8 weeks and many requests for reversals are refused by the DVLA due to the complications presented by a CoD being issued in error.
If your UK-registered vehicle was scrapped in a country whose laws state that a Certificate of Destruction must be issued, you will need a CoD. If your car was scrapped in a country where CoDs are not issued, you may need to prove this to the DVLA. UK-registered cars should always be scrapped in the UK to prevent complications.
Once you are in possession of a CoD, you are no longer legally responsible for your vehicle and should not be in a position to keep it.