Car breaking

To contact the Environmental Protection Unit to find out More information or report car breaking please call +44 1624 685 535 or Email

Car breaking the Law and You

Under the Public Health Act 1990 waste activities require a Waste Disposal Licence. Selling scrap metal from car breaking will also require a scrap metal dealer’s licence from the Police.

When a vehicle has reached the end of its life and being dismantled for parts it is classified as waste. It must be scrapped at an authorised site and declared as scrapped. Advertising car breaking without a waste disposal and scrap metal dealer’s licence is illegal.

Legitimate operators run sites where vehicles are 'depolluted' and stripped for parts. This means they remove all the hazardous components or fluids – such as engine oil, engine coolant and batteries – which could be dangerous to the environment if not disposed of properly.

Legitimate businesses lose income to illegal operations, and they ensure no harm to people and the environment is caused by their activities.

The breaking of cars and selling the parts except at a licensed facility is an offence and can lead to prosecution.

Export of waste

The catalytic converter of a scrapped vehicle has a mix of precious metals inside. This mix of materials is highly toxic. For the safe removal the catalytic convertors have to be shipped off-island to an Authorised Treatment Facility.

The shipment of waste to the UK whether for recovery or disposal requires a Transfrontier Shipment TFS in place prior to shipment.

Environmental Impact

Landowners of premises domestic dwellings must not allow illegal activities on their site.

Waste oil from dismantled vehicles can contaminate land and may have to be excavated and removed for disposal at significant costs to the landowner. It can also pollute groundwater and find its way into drains and rivers.

Fact – Just 1 litre of oil can contaminate 1 million litres of water.

Oil pollution can have a devastating effect on the water environment, it spreads over the surface in a thin layer that stops oxygen getting to the plants and animals that live in the water’