India calls for stricter export regime for waste tyres

– call is welcomed by TRA

Indian tyre trade body reveals the extent of repurposing end-of-life whole tyres exported from UK

TRA again call on UK government to do the right thing to end polluting export of baled end-of-life tyres

European nations are leading contributors to the pollution, environmental damage and safety concerns caused by large scale export of end-of-life tyres (ELTs), according to the Indian tyre trade body the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA). Figures show there was a surge of waste tyre imports from developed countries to India last year, leaving the nation facing significant environmental challenges. The Chairman of India’s Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA), Anshuman Singhania, raised concerns over the staggering statistic that India imported around 800,000 tonnes of scrapped tyres between April and November 2023. The UK was identified as one of the leading exporters of ELTs to India.

UK figures reveal some 300,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyre are exported from the UK per annum, yet the UK has at least 150,000 tonnes of licenced idle domestic recycling capacity of its own. It is claimed that 10-15% of India’s imported ELTs are sold as replacement tyres, with the rest go to outdated highly polluting batch-pyrolysis.

In a December 2023 report issued by India’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) proposed a colour system of categorisation in order to advance compliance and promote the upgrade to new technology. The pyrolysis sector was categorised as orange, one down from the most polluting red. The colour categorisation system is seen as a significant step towards improving the licenced plants and clamping down on the most toxic pyrolysis practices, illegal small scale backstreet pyrolysis plants where many of the UK’s ELTs are believed to end up.

The TRA (Tyre Recovery Association) has welcomed the move from the ATMA to join forces with the CPCB and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to recognise the gravity of the situation and join force to implement these new regulations and tackle the significant environmental concerns from the disposal of whole end-of-life tyres which are exported in bales.

Peter Taylor OBE, Secretary General of the TRA, said:

“This confirms our long-held suspicions and what many operators have been saying for a long time. While we are grateful to India’s Automobile Tyre Manufactures Association, people should be shocked at how their findings lay bare the inadequacy of UK government’s response to TRA demands for tighter export controls.

“Now the Chair of the ATMA, Mr Anshuman Singhania, is also calling for tyres to be size reduced prior to import to India (in UK terms shredded) to prevent their abuse by an onward market, perhaps the UK government can finally act to update the out of date and failing UK regulatory framework.

“The British government should also listen to Prashanth Doreswamy, President and CEO, Continental Tyres India, who has called for new regulations to be enacted in India to curtail the imports of waste tyres and allow only shred. There is no reason for the UK authorities to continue to dither, they should ensure we only export shredded tyres, grow our own circular environmentally responsible market and follow the very successful Australian example.

“ATMA has exposed the low standards of environmental practices which appear in some parts of their domestic industry. The evidence from them is clear, too many operators in the Indian onward market are not meeting the recognised environmental standards or their equivalence. It is time the UK government woke up and acknowledged that far from tackling this environmental assault they are enabling UK operators to facilitate environmental harm.”

“It is time UK government does the right thing and help India stop these environmental abuses, as India’s manufacturers demand of us.”


Global leader in online vehicle remarketing and recycling, Copart UK, have announced that expansion works are planned at their Operation Centre in Peterlee, County Durham.  

The planned expansion, which will make Peterlee a 30-acre site once completed, supports the company’s continued growth in the Northeast of England and provides further capacity for their ‘First Response’ Contact Centre which is located at this site.  

The expansion more than doubles vehicle capacity for Copart’s customers operating in this area, providing secure storage, and enlarged areas for vehicles that may require specialist handling like EVs, HEVs, and flood and fire damaged vehicles.


Brand-new vehicle preparation and valeting areas using state-of-the-art technology to inspect and image vehicles are also being planned as part of the expansion works.


Copart has also said that dedicated bio-diversity spaces will be ringfenced as part of the expansion works to improve air quality and encourage nature.


This announcement follows recent updates from the company regarding expansions at their existing Operation Centres in Bristol, Rochford, Sandtoft, Westbury and Wisbech, and the addition of three new sites in Corby, East Kilbride, and St Helens.

Subject to all relevant planning permissions, Copart anticipates expansion works at Peterlee to be completed in 2024.

Jane Pocock, CEO of Copart UK & Ireland, said:

“This expansion at Peterlee will enable us to handle around 38,000 vehicles per annum, supporting Copart’s continued growth and industry leading services in the Northeast alongside our Operation Centres in Sandtoft and York.

“The additional storage capacity will enable us to offer unique contingency land to our customers following extreme weather events and support further the national growth of our onsite Contact Centre which provides vital first response and policy holder management services.”






TRA calls on UK government to do the right thing, support British operators and end polluting export of end-of-life tyres


Britain must face up to the reality of its actions if it is to live up to His Majesty’s Government rhetoric, says the Tyre Recovery Association. The disruption caused by Houthi attacks on international shipping have lifted the veil many have been choosing to ignore, the UK is not building a circular economy but double dipping with unnecessary carbon leakage.

Latest figures reveal 250-300,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyre are exported from the UK per annum, yet the UK has at least 150,000 tonnes of idle domestic recycling capacity. Exported tyres are transported to market on carbon producing ocean tankers. According to the German statistics company, Statista, who looked at product tankers operating in the United Kingdom, ships end-of-life tyre exports are carried on produced the equivalent of 9.02 grams of CO2 per metric tonne of goods shipped per kilometre in 2023. With shipping now diverting via the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the Red Sea the journey lengths are estimated to have almost doubled, increasing carbon emissions by one third.

Government figures on rubber export released earlier this month show that, having completed an unnecessary carbon producing journey, 75% of these ELT waste tyre exports end up being sold into the Indian sub-content. Much of these Indian tonnages are dealt with in a manner that is highly polluting, with the Indian authorities fighting an uphill battle to end the illegal and unethical distribution of ELT waste tyres for use on vehicles and the highly polluting practice of back street pyrolysis. The life of an average worker in one of these micro and illegal pyrolysis plants is estimated at seven years, demonstrating quite how noxious the by-products from burning are to both humans and the environment.

Peter Taylor OBE, Secretary General of the TRA, said:

“It beggars belief that the government continue to enable CO2 producing exports while UK capacity lies idle. The UK tyre industry welcomes the opportunities that come from the

circular economy advocated for by ministers, yet those same ministers appear incapable of pushing through the rule changes that make it work. Without much needed updating of UK regulations our nation will continue to double dip in unnecessary carbon production, first from the carbon created by ships loaded with ELTs for export and then those ELTs are unloaded into a market that is sadly rife with abuse.

“The TRA want to see responsible recycling at the heart of our industry, but the regulatory framework needed lags way behind.


“It is time our government does the right thing and stop the UK’s carbon leakage.”


Silverlake Automotive Recycling [Silverlake] has partnered with charity UK Sunflower Aid to send recycled vehicle first aid kits to Ukraine to help refugees affected by the war. The company is also supplying fuel for the charity’s vans before they set out on the long journey to the Ukraine border.

Silverlake recognised that the first aid kits in the 30,000+ salvage vehicles it processes p.a., at its automotive recycling site in Shedfield, could provide some valuable supplies to the aid effort.  Since May 2023, it has collected and shipped over 1,500 first aid kits from its Shedfield site and has fuelled over 10 UK Sunflower Aid vans over multiple trips.   

Paul Fullick of UK Sunflower Aid said: “We formed UK Sunflower Aid and started taking aid to Ukraine a week after Russia invaded Kiev; it seemed like the right thing to do. More than two years later we have moved almost 600 tons of humanitarian aid and medical supplies directly to the people and hospitals in Ukraine. The support we get from organisations like Silverlake is essential and helps us to deliver this life saving aid. Thank you to everyone at Silverlake who help keep the wheels moving, the people of Ukraine are extremely grateful.” 

Allen Prebble, MD at Silverlake said: “We know Paul from our sponsorship of the Silverlake C1 Racing Series. He is a racing driver with Team BRIT, a disability motorsport team that races in the Series.  When I heard what he was doing to support the people of Ukraine I knew Silverlake had to get involved.  Recycling vehicle first aid kits was a meaningful and valuable way we could help, as well as supplying tanks of fuel for the aid vans setting out for the Ukraine border.  UK Sunflower Aid has achieved so much and we are proud to be helping them to make a difference to those caught in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.”



Communities across Britain face environmental assault if UK authorities can’t stop illegal disposal of end-of-life tyres


Britain faces an environmental assault from the illegal disposal of end-of-life tyres as the impact of the Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping come home to roost. With 75% of the UK’s waste tyres heading to the Indian sub-continent via the Red Sea route, the UK government rightly condemns Houthi attacks against commercial shipping, yet at the same time it is failing to address the environmental concerns that arise from this situation, warns the Tyre Recovery Association.

Industry insiders point to the Red Sea shipping crisis as exposing the lethargy of UK’s policy making and a reliance on exports that has been termed ‘environmental colonialism’. Government has been presented with evidence of the misuse of UK baled end-of-life tyres by Indian importers but have taken no action. As ships are diverted via the Cape of Good Hope container rates for the shipment of used tyres have dramatically increased from an average £850 to £2,000. Meanwhile tyre collectors at the lower reaches of the market, commonly operating under a licence known as a T8 exemption, have come to rely on disposing of the tyres they collect by exporting to the Indian sub-continent. These operators have seen the price of the baled tyres they sell for export to the Indian sub-continent fall dramatically as overseas importers refuse to pay the additional surcharges shippers need to cover their increased transport costs.

The last time prices collapsed for these operators there was a significant increase in fly tipping, abandonment and major tyre fires. Such fires can take days to extinguish, involving dozens of firefighters. The noxious smoke can cause travel chaos to road and rail, as well as result in a dangerous reduction in air quality impacting local schools and communities.

T8 exempted operators are limited to storing 40 tonnes of tyre a week, with an average 26 tonnes of tyre making up one container for export, the challenge becomes clear with illegal storage expected to rocket. As unscrupulous end-of-life tyre operators come under pressure, illegal stockpiling will rise, as will fly tipping and illegal abandonment, which includes burning. A cycle of behaviour that will once again damage Britain’s environment looks inevitable, effecting water courses and the air we breathe. Meanwhile the Environment Agency and other enforcement authorities will struggle to keep up with the scale of rule breaking given the challenges already faced in preceding more stable times.

End-of-life tyre recyclers have been frustrated by the Government’s inability to implement the commitment made by the Environment Secretary to end T8 exemptions two years ago. With an election expected this year,

a DEFRA letter dated 04 January 2024, from the Minister responsible for land waste has confirmed that this government does not expect to allocate the necessary parliamentary time to curtail the well documented abuse of the T8 exemption in this parliament.

Peter Taylor OBE, Secretary General of the TRA, said:

“The crisis in the Red Sea is not just a threat to British people’s ability to buy their clothes from Next, it presents a looming environmental calamity for communities near sites across the country. The TRA has been warning the government that current regulations are inadequate and allow non-compliant waste tyre operators to continue abusing the rules. As Houthi pirates create a strangle hold on shipping routes the full picture of the UK’s end-life-tyre market and its over reliance on Indian sub-continent importers comes into sharp relief.

“Reputational damage to the industry from tyre fires, virtually all of which are at non-permitted sites, causes issue for mainstream permitted operators and the industry at large.


“We have the capacity and capability in the UK to responsibly deal with end-of-life tyres but urgently need the UK’s environmental regulations to catch up.”