Responsible Car Wash Scheme welcomes Environmental Audit Committee Report and push to drive up standards across the car wash industry.

A new Environmental Audit Committee report welcomes the Responsible Car Wash Scheme, run by the Downstream Fuel Association (DFA), which will enable consumers to identify a fully compliant operator that has been through an accreditation process and verified by audits and spot-checks.

The Responsible Car Wash Scheme is working with regulators, supermarkets and operators to ensure full compliance. Members of the Scheme will be able to be recognised by consumers as ones who: look after their workers, trade legally, adhere to environmental regulations and take care of their customers and their vehicles.

The DFA, alongside regulators and supermarkets, launched the Responsible Car Wash Scheme in October 2018 with a pilot phase to start in the West and East Midlands later this month.

Working under the principle of joint responsibility, the Scheme will work with landowners to leverage influence through the supply chain, providing a mechanism by which landowners can choose a responsible service provider to operate from their land. As founder members of the scheme, five major supermarkets have pledged their full support and have made accreditation with the RCWS a requisite for car wash providers operating from their land.

Teresa Sayers, Managing Director of the RCWS said “The Scheme, initially operating in a pilot area, and commencing with supermarket locations, will create a pressure for compliance that will ripple out to other parts of the industry. Once the pilot is complete, the scheme will be rolled out nationally across the supermarket network and with other landlords to extend the scheme’s reach”.

“Car washing is a service that is wanted the country over with sites found on a variety of locations including supermarkets, petrol forecourts, garden and leisure centres, pub car parks. car auctions and dealerships as well as disused land and vacant premises. The Scheme will give the customer a means by which they can identify a compliant car wash, one that treats its workers fairly, trades legally, respects the environment and cares for customers and their vehicles. The consequences of using a rogue operator are wide ranging, as highlighted in the EAC Report, and may support the exploitation of workers. It’s important that we promote and support sites that are operating compliantly.”

A key strength of the RCWS is the support it has from its founding members and supporters which include five major supermarkets, the GLAA, HSE, EA, HMRC, The Police, the Charity Unseen and the national hand car wash operator Waves. In addition to being instrumental in its development, they will continue to be involved in the scheme’s governance overseeing the audit regime and maintaining the scheme’s code of practice. The aim is for the scheme to become an information hub, both for enforcement bodies so that they can better target their resources and for the industry, to promote compliance and to drive up standards through the sharing of best practice.

Accredited status will allow customers to make responsible choices about which car wash provider they wish to use and provide a mechanism for landlords to choose a responsible service provider to operate from their land. It will also support stakeholders in developing their annual Slavery and Human Trafficking statement, as required under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

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