Plea to ban motorists washing their cars in the street
Car wash businesses campaigning for ban on street side wash and wax
Petrol stations are campaigning for a ban on drivers washing their own cars in the street and want them to pay to use garage car wash businesses instead. Brian Madderson of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, which represents independent petrol stations, has called on the Government to follow the example of parts of Germany where strict laws are in force.
These laws ban drivers from washing their cars in the street because of the damage it is believed this can do to the environment with cleaning chemicals entering the water supply.
He has also called for a ban on unregulated “pop up” hand car wash businesses, which he said were not subject to the same environmental regulations as petrol stations.
Both are seen as a threat to mechanical car washes, a lucrative sideline for forecourts across the country.
Now Mr Madderson has written to David Cameron calling on the Government to crack down on the unregulated car wash businesses.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said he wants the Government to eventually go even further and impose restrictions on car owners washing their own cars.
“Our car washes have to be inspected by the Environment Agency and we have to have a method of catching the oil, grease and dirty water so it doesn’t go into the main drainage system. ”
“My members are already under threat because of falling profits they make on selling fuel and now struggling because their car wash businesses, which were a good earner, are being decimated,” he added.
He warned that many forecourts are under threat because of the competition they are facing.
“We accept that this would be a difficult policy to sell to voters, but it should be examined,” he added.
“However our main concern are the mushrooming of unregulated hand car wash businesses, where environmental standards are not in force which often rely on illegal migrant labour.”
In recent years the UK Border Agency has carried out a series of raids across the country on car wash businesses who employ illegal immigrants.
The ban on car washing in the street is in force in a number of German towns and cities, such as Dresden, where restrictions are in force to keep the sewerage system clean of the detritus generated by the activity.
Other parts of the country ban street car washing on Sundays because it is seen as disturbing a day of rest, much in the same way as playing a radio at full volume and mowing the lawn.
Similar bans were mooted in Clark County in Washington, in the north west United States on environmental grounds.
But the suggestion that motorists should be forced to go to Government-approved car washes, rather than having the freedom to do it themselves or use one of the pop-up businesses horrified Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“It is a ritual and a fundamental right up there with the Magna Carta,” said Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“Some 63 per cent of our members wash their cars in the street and enjoy doing so. We would take a very strong view if it was banned
“Many others go to ‘pop up ‘ car washes who do first class job in many cases better than a machine.
“With record fuel prices and chorus of complaints at the fuel price differences between towns, it doesn’t exactly win the hearts and minds of drivers when the petrol retailers tell them they can’t wash their cars in the street.”
Have you been in an accident that was not your fault? Would you like your car repaired without affecting your no claims bonus and without raising your renewal premiums? Click here to start your claim today.