Recently released figures suggest cars are not being properly de-polluted and recycled.
In 2003, the government introduced legislation – the End of Life Vehicle Regulations – as part of an attempt to ensure that cars are properly de-polluted and recycled at specially licensed Authorised Treatment Facilities.
However, government data suggests just 900,000 cars were decommissioned correctly in 2006 – although two million cars were taken off the road last year.
This suggests that more than a million cars could have been scrapped with airbags still intact, harmful oils still in the car and with tyres still attached.
"This is a serious – and potentially dangerous – problem," commented Jay Nagley of CleanGreenCars.
It appears that owners are exploiting a loophole in DVLA records – they are de-registering their vehicle by ticking a box on a V5 registration form rather than doing so, as intended, only after obtaining a Certificate of Destruction form.
"The rules were set up to ensure car makers worked with the recycling industry to improve recovery rates, cut down on pollution and end illegal car dumping. But the reality is that DVLA records – and a system poorly policed by the Environment Agency – have become weak links in the chain," Mr Nagley said.