The Car Wash Campaign Group (CWCG) is urging retailers to contact their MPs regarding an Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled on the group’s behalf.
Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, has tabled EDM 941 on unregulated car wash sites, which states:
"That this House recognises the important role that the car wash industry plays in the UK, contributing more than £819m to the economy and investing in efficient and environmentally-friendly equipment; is concerned that this success is threatened by the growth of hand car wash operators who operate outside regulation, in particular the planning and environmental legislation put in place to protect water quality and to prevent pollution of ground and surface water."
Russell also called on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, together with the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Environment Agency and local authorities to "take action to deal with illegal practices arising from unregulated car washes".
The EDM, tabled on February 18, has so far gained 27 signatures.
But the CWCG says more MPs need to get on board and the group plans to use the International Forecourt & Fuel Equipment show to raise awareness of its campaign and get more signatures on the EDM. As highlighted on Forecourt Trader’s website, the group’s aim is to represent the interests of responsible car wash sites and stamp out those that operate outside regulations - which usually means hand car washes.
The CWCG will be holding an open meeting on the Monday morning (April 7) at the IFFE show in Birmingham, with a panel available to answer questions and discuss the campaign in more detail. The panel of four will include a representative from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), which has been working with the group to further its campaign in many areas, including contacting MPs.
The CWCG, which is due to officially change its name to the Car Wash Association on May 1, is urging those in the industry affected by rogue practices to contact their MP about the EDM.
CWCG chairman David Charman says: "It’s imperative that everyone gets involved, we can’t do this by ourselves. The more people who contact their MP, the more weight we’ll have behind the campaign, and the more likely it is we’ll achieve our aims.
"We’ve been finding supporters all over the country. We’ve got about 1,000 sites in our membership now. It’s also very encouraging that the Environment Agency recognises these car wash practices are a major problem and wants to do something about it."
In addition, Russell is trying to arrange for an Adjournment Debate to be held on the issue of illegal hand car washes in Westminster Hall, which would be held in front of a minister.
Russell has tabled a ministerial question asking the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government "what advice she has given to local authorities on implementing the pollution prevention guidelines on vehicle washing and cleaning in policy planning guidance 13; and if she will make a statement".
According to the ACS, this parliamentary activity work is to raise the profile of the issue leading up to DEFRA’s second consultation on non agriculture diffuse water pollution (which involves run-off from car washes). The CWCG wants to see the introduction of general binding rules, which would make it far easier for the Environment Agency to prosecute rogue hand car washes.
According to a statement by Iain Wright, Parliamentary under-secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government, things could be headed in this direction.
His answer to Russell’s question stated DEFRA was working with the Environment Protection Agency to tackle non-agricultural diffuse water pollution as part of its work for Future Water, its recently published water strategy.
He added: "In particular, DEFRA is considering the introduction of simple general binding rules, which will provide a new approach to regulating such activities along with proportionate forms of enforcement, such as fixed penalty notices. A DEFRA consultation on this issue is anticipated later this year."
=== get your mp to add their name ===
Want to get your MP to add their name to the EDM?
You can save time by visiting the Car Wash Campaign Group section of the Forecourt Trader website at [http://www.forecourttrader.co.uk]. The ACS has drafted a letter which you will be able to download, print and send to your MP.
A full list of MPs who have already signed EDM 941 is available at www. edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=35122&SESSION=891