Truckers and farmers could escape tyre levy

Levies imposed on motorists to curb illegal dumping of car tyres may not be extended to truck owners, farmers, and builders, as was previously planned. There are complaints the scheme is flawed and will actually cause dumping.

The levy was introduced on car tyres three months ago, despite industry complaints that because of loopholes thousands of used tyres would continue to be illegally dumped in the countryside, from where 750,000 already await removal.

Truck tyres were due to become liable for the levy — called the visible Environmental Management Charge (vEMC) — on January 1, but that deadline was extended to March 31. Agricultural and construction vehicles were to follow in October.

However, the Department of the Environment now says a working group has been asked to review the plan and to report to the minister by March 31, so no date for the inclusion of truck tyres has been set.

The department has also cast doubt on plans to bring agricultural and construction tyres into the scheme. “The work being undertaken by the group will also inform if, how, and when a vEMC might be introduced for construction and agricultural tyres,” it says.

The scheme was introduced to track tyres from production, through to disposal or recycling by registered waste collectors. A levy of €2.80, plus Vat, applies to every car tyre, adding almost €14 to a set of four tyres, while truck tyres were expected to cost €13 more each.

The levy is intended to be paid initially by the producer or distributor and passed along the line to retailers and motorists.

Tyre producers, importers, and retailers are now in their third month of new reporting procedures that require them to log monthly, detailed accounts of the numbers and types of tyres they handle.

The information is used to calculate the amount of levy they have to pay and provide a tracking service, so that the end-user of the tyre can avail of free collection and disposal.

But the department says that just half the 2,170 operators who registered with the scheme co-ordinators, Repak Ltd, had submitted their first monthly reports.

The Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) says the process is convoluted and riddled with anomalies that make it impossible to log some of their stock. They say it is easy for those who want to escape the levy to avoid declaring all of their business.

Niall Murray, spokesman for the ITIA, says his own company, Tractamotors, has spent €7,200 on IT consultants and 200 hours of their own time trying to integrate the reporting system into their existing stock-tracking software, but without success.

“There is a lot of disquiet among the members. The reporting is very, very onerous and it hasn’t been thought out correctly. If you have tyres that you can’t report, you can’t give them to a legitimate collector, so your only option is to dump them.

“Any tyres that are under the carpet are going to be well under the carpet, because the system is actually pushing them there. What was needed to stop illegal dumping was enforcement of the law on dumping.”

The department says Repak, and PRL — the company that calculates the levies — are working with the industry, “in relation to issues that arose during the first reporting period”.

“In addition, the local authorities have begun their enforcement campaign”.


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