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Institutional apathy makes UK the European centre for rogue hand car washes

PRA 15/11/2018

“The CWA welcomes the detailed and insightful report published today by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), which highlights the need to introduce operating licences for hand car washes to prevent exploitation of workers and water pollution”, comments Brian Madderson, Chairman of the Car Wash Association (CWA).

It is estimated that there are 20,000 non-compliant hand car washes operating across the UK many of which present problems including environmental damage from mishandling trade effluent, widespread disregard of the National Minimum Wage, modern slavery, human trafficking and tax avoidance. Most other EU countries do not suffer from these problems. 

Madderson continues, “We are pleased to see the report’s recommendations which include formal licensing of hand car washes and plans to amend the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to cover businesses as small as hand car washes. 

“It is vital that we also press the Environmental Agency for better enforcement of pollution control, HMRC for tax evasion and the Home Office for employment regulations. 

“It is especially important that landlords hosting hand car washes are held responsible for breaches of regulations, whether these properties are leased to supermarkets or independent operators. 

“This EAC report must now be adopted by all Government agencies to ensure the right steps are taken in tackling illegal hand car washes and bringing an end to modern slavery.” 


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Brian Madderson is available for interview.

About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.