Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa was the venue for the annual British Vehicle Salvage Federation (BVSF) conference, where its committee, new and old members and many guests came together to listen to a wealth of speakers, network and enjoy an evening dinner filled with entertainment and laughter. 

Its Secretary General, Roger West, opened the AGM by greeting everyone in attendance, reporting on the federation's health, and welcoming its new members. He also said of the hard work being done by the BVSF for the industry and how they have liaised with related industries and authorities. He added how the federation continues to work with the EA, highlighting illegal operators and how there had been some positive outcomes, especially concerning how those on Facebook were selling vehicle parts illegally. 

Percy Snow, Honorary Chairman, echoed this and offered his grateful thanks for the support of the Federation by both Members and Strategic partners. Finally, thanking and indeed paying tribute to the work carried out by both Roger and Heather West relating to the organisation of the event.

The mantel was then handed back to Roger to detail the work completed and, indeed, that in progress over the last year. 

Roger then went on to confirm that due to a health issue, this was to be his last AGM and that he would be retiring at the beginning of the Christmas break this year. He advised that a new secretary general was under discussion, but as yet, no decision had been made.


 After the formalities that go with any AGM ended, attention turned to the speakers. Andrew Marsh from AIC Ltd. spoke about the chaos amongst the OEMs as they adjusted to the future of vehicle manufacturing and how the   potential lifespan of vehicles is becoming shorter, providing opportunities for recyclers. 


 Following Andrew was Dave Clinton from Cornerstone Autoglass. He highlighted the various benefits of reusing auto glass and the solutions and training provided by his company that could provide   opportunities to those involved in the reused parts market. A member present, ASM Autos, confirmed and supported the suggested re-use confirming that they were currently heavily involved with this re-   use following training by Cornerstone, and it was proving profitable.


 The final speaker before lunch was Ken Byng, Senior Manager of Car Take Back. His presentation revolved around the inevitable increase of electric ELVs and the importance of incorporating essential   safety processes. In his presentation, he highlighted the challenges of dismantling EVs as the information provided by manufacturers is not uniform, with some being better than others. He also highlighted   the  varying policies these companies had regarding collection processes. However, Ken encouraged everyone in the room to embrace the opportunity that EVs could bring to the industry and that safety   and the correct procedures are paramount. 




 After lunch, with the opportunity for the delegates to network and visit the various displays both around the room and in the adjacent parking area, there were a number of recovery/transport vehicles on display.


The afternoon schedule began with a presentation from Isla Gill, Projects Manager from Transporter Engineering. She drew everyone's focus to the challenges and solutions facing the transportation of vehicles and also how her company was pioneering their eco credentials when manufacturing their vehicles. 


 Next up was Thatcham Research, represented by Dean Lander and Adrian Watson. They provided a BEV update from the insurer's perspective. In their presentation, they   highlighted the issues around the difficult choices that need to be made when assessing a damaged EV and how more research needs to be done when assessing a vehicle.   Although physical damage on a car could be seen as slight, the actual damage to the battery cannot be determined, so its categorisation has to be evaluated accordingly. With factors including challenges to   repairing vehicles, limited diagnostics, lack of research and resources and repair costs, currently, it is easier to certify a damaged BEV as a total loss than repair it.

 The second part of their presentation turned to the value and importance of training. Still, it highlighted how Thatcham provided various modules for specific users as they come into contact with BEVs.


 The final person invited to the floor was Peter Buckley, Senior advisor for Fire Prevention and ELVs. He spoke about appropriate measures regarding EA legislation and guidance structures and how application to new and existing sites was being implemented. He talked about the importance of consultation periods and urged everyone to get involved when this happened. He also explained how some exemptions, with particular reference to T9 (recovering scrap metal) and U16 (using depolluted end-of-life vehicles for parts), were to be removed and their implications for the industry. 


With the conference concluded, attention was directed to the evening with dinner and entertainment for the guests. As well as the sold-out raffle and auction with prizes donated by committee members and strategic partners of the BVSF, it was left to Percy Snow to Introduce David Newbery to award the annual Combellack Award for dedication and service to the British Salvage Industry. It was no surprise and rightfully awarded to their own Secretary General, Roger West, who was attending his last AGM in his official capacity after 13 years in the role. Genuinely surprised by this, his heartfelt speech was met with rapturous and appreciated applause by everyone in attendance. 


When asked about the event, Roger commented:

"I was very pleased that the event had seemingly gone without a hitch, which of course, is what it is all about. I was genuinely stunned to receive the Combellack Award and will treasure it to the end of my days. I cannot believe that when running last year's event, fit and well and saying that I would go on for a few years yet, this year, I would reluctantly be saying the exact opposite and all because of ill health. I cannot close without a huge thank you to the Management Committee for their gift to Heather and I, which again was totally unexpected. I have tried my best to alleviate issues for the Federation members and strategic partners over the last 13 years, and I hope that whoever takes over the reins will realise the importance of this action.” 



Credit to ATF Pro