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What is an ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility)?

If you’re arranging to scrap your car, you may see references to an ‘ATF’, ‘ATF car scrap yard’ or ‘ATF scrap facility’ and be wondering what these terms mean.

An ATF is an Authorised Treatment Facility – a scrap yard that follows specific rules and regulations when dismantling and disposing of scrap cars. 

Here, we’ll answer a few more questions about ATFs, including; “What is an ATF vehicle scrap yard?”, “How do you get an authorised treatment facility licence?” and “How do I find an authorised treatment facility near me?”

What is an authorised treatment facility?

An authorised treatment facility is a scrap yard, breaker’s yard or vehicle dismantler who has proved they follow strict end of life vehicle (ELV) guidelines that are monitored by the Environment Agency (EA). 

These guidelines are broken down into distinct areas:

  • Certificate of Destruction responsibilities: The generation and issuing of COD documents through the DVLA’s online system
  • Depollution processes: The removal of potentially hazardous materials and substances from the vehicle
  • Storage guidelines: How to safely handle and store parts removed from the vehicle
  • Meeting recycling and recovery targets: Operating and evidencing adherence to government issued figures

Authorised treatment facilities have proved that they meet and maintain these practices – and are therefore the only scrap car yards that can legally handle ELVs. Every scrap collection partner we work with at Car.co.uk meets these strict guidelines.

How does an authorised treatment facility scrap a car?

When your scrap vehicle goes to an authorised treatment facility, it will be taken through a rigorous dismantling and depollution process. 

This process begins with the issuing of a certificate of destruction (COD). Every ATF has access to the DVLA’s online system; so, when it is decided that a vehicle will be depolluted and scrapped, a COD is generated - proving that the vehicle has reached its end of life.

When the official paperwork has been handled, authorised scrap dealers must then depollute the car. This is an in-depth and labour-intensive process that involves the removal of:

  • Fuel
  • The battery
  • The catalytic converter
  • Oils – including engine, gearbox, transmission, and hydraulic oils
  • Fluids – including coolant, anti-freeze, brake fluid, air-con gas, shock-absorber fluid, and screen wash
  • Oil filters
  • Wheels, tyres, and any lead wheel balancing weights
  • Parts containing mercury – such as switches
  • Parts containing explosive materials – such as airbags and seatbelt tensions

When these materials and liquids have been removed, it is the responsibility of the authorised treatment facility to ensure they are reused, recycled, stored or disposed of appropriately. 

What happens if a scrap yard isn’t on the ATF register?

It is highly unlikely that a scrap yard could operate without undertaking at least some of the tasks that are included in the government’s ELV handling guidelines. As such, a business that appears to be a scrap yard but is not ATF registered could be something entirely different.

Some traders will advertise in a way that leads customers to think they are a scrap yard. However, if this trader is not an ATF, they will either be hoping to sell your car to an ATF and make a profit – or dismantle it illegally. Both of these scenarios can have an impact on you.

If a trader plans to dismantle the car, they will not be able to generate a COD – a crucial part of informing the DVLA that the car is no longer yours. Without this information, the DVLA could still pursue you for issues relating to the car, including motoring offences and illegal disposal practices.

On the other hand; if a trader plans to sell the car on to an ATF, you will receive a significantly lower price for your vehicle. While any quote they give might sound competitive; you will often find they haggle or argue over the price in person, often insisting that you receive considerably less. 

It’s sometimes difficult to work out whether or not you’re dealing with an authorised treatment facility – but if you want a quick and simple way to be 100% sure; using our hassle-free car scrapping service guarantees you’ll only receive quotes from local scrap yards who have an ATF licence.

How to become an authorised treatment facility

If you hope to become involved with the dismantling of vehicles, it’s essential you follow government guidelines on how to do so; if you don’t, you could find yourself subject to prosecution. 

Not only will you be required to follow strict ATF duties, but you must also abide by a series of further waste rules. These will include hazardous waste regulations (for instances when you have not been able to depollute a car accordingly), and more general commercial waste rules (when non-recyclable parts of the car are disposed of).

In England, there are further responsibilities to fulfil if you hope to treat end of life vehicles at your site, including:

  • Obtaining planning permission from your local council
  • Receiving the correct environmental permit for the specific treatments carried out on your site
  • Acquiring a scrap metal dealer’s licence from your local council

For further information on how to handle, dismantle, and dispose of ELVs on your site, you should contact the Environment Agency and explain that you’d like to begin the process involved with achieving ATF registration.

Where is my nearest authorised treatment facility?

If you’re hoping to find an ATF near you; you have a series of options. If you have a car that you’d like to scrap, the very best way to find an ATF is to request a quote from us here at Car.co.uk! When you do, we won’t just provide you with 1 option; we’ll help you to get in touch with each of the local authorised scrap dealers who have quoted for your car; so you can select the one that’s right for you.

We only deal with accredited authorised treatment facilities; so, you can be sure that your car is being dealt with in a way that meets government regulations relating to the environment.

For a comprehensive list of ATFs, including addresses and permit numbers, you can access the government’s authorised treatment facilities public register list.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

If you’re entitled to any unused road tax when you scrap your car, you should get in touch with the DVLA to reclaim it. Since tax discs were phased out, this can no longer be done at a post office – so you’ll need to contact the DVLA directly, either on the phone, by post, or using their website.

When a car is no longer roadworthy, it still has some value. An Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) will pay you the scrap value of your car, which could be well over a hundred pounds, depending on the model.

It’s illegal to scrap someone’s car without their permission and take payment. The Scrap Dealers Act requires that individuals scrapping cars provide photo ID and proof of address and are never paid in cash, ensuring transactions can be easily traced.

End of Life Vehicle (ELV) is the term used to describe a car that is no longer suitable for use – either through wear and tear or damage. ELVs must be recycled at authorised treatment facilities.

Yes – it’s important that you inform the DVLA when you scrap your car, as you could be liable for any on-going charges relating to it if you don’t. The quick and easy way to inform the DVLA is by completing and returning section 9 (or section 4 on post-April 2019 documents) of the V5C log book form.

Scrapping your car can be the solution when repair or running costs are greater than your vehicle’s value. If your car has been written off, deemed unsafe or no longer in use, these are all additional reasons to scrap it.

When a car is no longer roadworthy and needs to be scrapped, there’s probably a scrap dealer near you who will collect the car and pay you money for this. It’s easy to find a nearby scrapyard.

No problem. A Certificate of Destruction (COD) will be issued when your car is scrapped. Please let us know if you need one when you request a quote – and we’ll ensure a copy is forwarded as soon as possible.

When scrapping your car, you must inform the DVLA. You’ll need your logbook to pass onto the ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility). Afterwards, you’ll be given a Certificate of Destruction (CoD).

Yes, our network of dismantlers can scrap vehicles that are registered in other countries. You’ll need to inform the governing body in the country that the car is from; usually by sending them the completed registration document.