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Regulatory changes affecting vehicle recycling in Spain

Rafael Gomez Haro, Second Vice President of the Andalusian Association of Dismantlers (AAD) and owner of Provaluta España Reciclaje de Metales, SL, a vehicle recycling centre based in Córdoba-Andalucia, Spain, speaks to Auto Recycling World about the most significant regulatory changes affecting the vehicle recycling industry in Spain ahead of the updated ELV Directive.
Regulatory changes affecting vehicle recycling in Spain p
Rafael Gomez Haro

The AAD believe that these changes in the Law will gradually help:

  • control the illegal market for the sale of parts
  • discover the disappearance of vehicles by way of Temporary Deregistration
  • with control over vehicles declared non-repairable by insurance companies
  • all vehicles and automobiles to be treated in an ATF

Images from the latest ADD General Assembly and Technical Session held on May 25, 2022, in Seville



The partners voted for the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of AAD, to continue for 4 more years.

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The full Board of Directors
Regulatory changes affecting vehicle recycling in Spain p two
L-R: Secretary: Antonio Baena, Treasurer: José Manuel Estrada, President: Rafael Azor, 2nd Vice President: Rafael Gómez, 1st Vice President: Gustavo Molina

About Royal Decree 1383/2002 and its effects

In Spain, the ELV regulation (VFU in Spain) and ATFs (CATs in Spain) follow the Directive 2000/53/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council of September 18, 2000. It was incorporated into the Spanish legal system through Royal Decree 1383/2002, of December 20.

This Royal Decree 1383/2002 established a series of preventive measures from the design phase of the vehicle, aimed at reducing and limiting the use of hazardous substances in its manufacture, as well as facilitating the reuse, recycling and recovery of its different elements to reduce the environmental impact caused by vehicles.

Priority determinations of the royal decree constituted guaranteeing the delivery by the user of the vehicle at the end of its useful life to an ATF (CAT); the collection of vehicles for decontamination in specifically authorized treatment centers; the correct environmental management of the elements and components extracted from the vehicle; compliance with the reuse, recycling and recovery objectives established by the directive; as well as the application of the principle of extended responsibility of the producers, by which they had to take charge of the vehicles at the end of their useful life that were delivered to them, guaranteeing the sufficiency of the collection facilities. This Royal Decree has been maintained up until 2017.

After 15 years of analyzing the main factors affecting the sector, AAD, together with the rest of the regional associations and the national association, taking advantage of the need to adjust the regulations to the new Spanish waste law, pressured the Spanish government to make changes in the law and that they could respond to the problems of the ATF. For this reason, Royal Decree 20/2017, of January 20, was approved.

The important changes that it presents with respect to the previous Royal Decree include the article on treatment facilities and operations carried out in authorized centers which have been developed in greater detail; these centers are the only ones authorized to decontaminate vehicles and extract parts and components from vehicles that have previously been definitively removed from the Vehicle Registry of the General Directorate of Traffic. (We refer only to the vehicles defined in the Directive 2000/53/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council of September 18, and excluding vintage, historical or collection value vehicles or intended for museums).

To comply with the principle of the waste hierarchy, these centers must separate the parts and components that can be prepared for reuse and market them; They must also deliver all the materials from the decontamination to an authorized manager and send the rest of the vehicle to an authorized manager for its fragmentation. This ensures the traceability and correct management of all vehicles at the end of their useful life, which will go through, in this order, a stage of decontamination and preparation for reuse in an ATF, another stage of fragmentation and, in its post-fragmentation case and finally the stages of recycling and energy recovery of its components or, where appropriate, disposal. (Currently, in Spain, second-hand used parts can only be dismantled and marketed by an ATF, and if some other individual or professional wants to market them, they have to guarantee that they were obtained from an ATF by means of an invoice and certificate).

The industry currently has the last approved Royal Decree, 265/2021, of April 13, on vehicles at the end of their useful life, and by which, the General Vehicle Regulations are modified, approved by Royal Decree 2822/1998, of April 23 December. 

Among the great novelties requested by AAD and which are included in the RD, it has been the incorporation of all motor vehicles into the regulations so that all vehicles, be they passenger cars, mopeds, trucks, tractors, etc., have the obligation to be delivered in an ATF. Among the great novelties requested by AAD, and which are included in the RD, has been the incorporation of all motor vehicles into the regulations so that all vehicles, be they passenger cars, mopeds, trucks, tractors, etc., have the obligation to be delivered in an  ATF.  

The Temporary Deregistration in Spain is limited to one year, and conditions are established for the export of vehicles, such as passing an MOT for old vehicles or vehicles that have suffered an accident.

To avoid problems of compliance with the obligations of the producers of vehicles defined in the Directive of the year 2000 with respect to new vehicles, this Royal Decree establishes a new codification of vehicle waste, defining two classes of vehicles:

  • The vehicles that are included in the European Directive of the year 2000, and that are renamed cars at the end of their useful life, and 
  • The rest of the vehicles at the end of their useful life capable of developing a speed greater than 25 km/hour (self-propelled vehicles).

For the correct calculation of the vehicles contemplated in the New Vehicles Directive, the obligation to maintain the issuance of CODs in the VFU of the Directive is established, while the obligation to issue the Environmental Treatment Certificate for the rest is established.

And it clarifies the obligation whenever possible to prioritize the reuse of any of its components, including those considered hazardous waste, such as refrigeration gases or fuels.


According to Annex V and Annex VIII below, all vehicles, including mopeds, motorcycles, trucks, cranes, tractors, agricultural machinery etc., have to be managed at an ATF, nothing can be dismantled or treated outside an ATF.


Preparation for reuse 

  1. Requirements of a preparation for reuse center or facility: 
  2. Only components, parts or pieces that come from vehicles definitively deregistered before the General Directorate of Traffic, with a certificate of destruction or environmental treatment validly issued by an authorized ATF, may be prepared for reuse. 
  3. Only authorized ATFs may prepare components, parts, pieces or fluids for reuse, being responsible for delivering the certificates mentioned in section C for recovered components, parts or pieces. 

For the proper extraction of fluids from the air conditioning system, the ATF professionals who carry out the described decontamination operations must have the qualifications required in accordance with Royal Decree 115/2017, of February 17, by which regulates the marketing and handling of fluorinated gases and equipment based on them, as well as the certification of professionals who use them and which establishes the technical requirements for facilities that carry out activities that emit fluorinated gases.  


LER-HEV coding 

Disaggregated LER-VEH codes are included below to be used in future regulations, with only the first two being applicable in this Royal Decree.

16 01 04* 10 Cars at the end of their useful life.

16 01 04* 20 Vehicles at the end of their useful life not included in the LER 16 01 04* 10.

16 01 04* 30 Means of transport runs on rails at the end of its useful life. 16 01 04* 40 Vessels at the end of their useful life.

16 01 04* 50 Aircraft at the end of their useful life.

16 01 04* 90 Other self-propelled means of transport (moving under their own power). 

A push to regulate web platforms

The vehicle recycling industry in Spain has been in touch with eBay. They have also sent correspondence to Amazon, Aliexpress, and national platforms to inform them of these regulatory changes and to tell them not to show adverts of second-hand vehicle parts unless they come from an ATF or that the person can prove with an invoice or an EOLO certificate which shows that they have been extracted from an ELV by a legal ATF. 

There are some issues with two ad pages which are not MARKET PLACE. The association has had several conversations with one of them, which is beginning to regulate and understand the problem. But the other platform does not pay any attention to their suggestions and recommendations to control its advertisers and ads. 

As an example, in the vehicle/engine section where it states FULL PARTS DISMANTLE, thousands of ads for second-hand parts are advertised by legal ATFs, such as private individuals, workshops etc., these are not legal; they cannot dismantle, advertise and sell these parts with this new LAW. 

This same example applies to CATALYSTS – if used catalysts or second-hand catalysts are advertised, thousands of Illegal collector ads appear, who then buy catalysts from individuals and workshops. 

ATFs see many ELVs arriving without a catalyst, in addition to those that are stolen.

In 2021, the (POLICE) Civil Guard sent 150 complaints to 200 companies, both those that are advertised online and those that the AAD detected had a physical facility. 10% have been closed with economic sanctions for illegal activity, 3% have been closed, and 73% are still in process without resolution. 

In conclusion 

AAD believes that much of the new regulation from the European Commission has already been adopted in Spain. By 2023 or 2024, when it arrives, we will already have over two years of experience.