Defra reports that over 5 million second-hand tyres are supplied in the UK every year, in excess of 10% of the UK replacement tyre market. The great majority are sourced from UK salvage operations. About 1 million are imported every year, principally from other European countries.
Of almost 500 blind purchases of second-hand tyres made in recent years by Trading Standards Officers at over 250 retailers, 58% did not comply with the minimum safety standard required by regulations. This has led to numerous prosecutions, all of which resulted in conviction.
Demand for second-hand tyres is longstanding and resilient. Market research shows that consumers are principally the young and economically disadvantaged. Those of modest means should not be obliged to compromise on road safety, for themselves or for other road users.
Government has established a policy objective to raise waste recovery outcomes up the waste hierarchy. Re-use is above other used tyre recovery outcomes in the hierarchy. BTMA endorses government’s ambition to increase re-use with the proviso that all second-hand tyres offered for sale must be safe and legally compliant. This is clearly not the case today.
Coordinated action by government and industry stakeholders is urgently needed to establish the second-hand tyre market on a robust safety, legal and environmental footing.
Current Defra initiatives including digital waste tracking, the review of the End of Life Vehicle regulations and the implementation of the Circular Economy Package offer the opportunity to establish an improved regulatory framework for salvage and re-use.
- An enhanced regulatory framework is urgently needed for salvaged tyres in order to deliver improvements to road safety, consumer protection and resource efficiency.