With estimates that there are between 10,000 and 20,000 hand car washes in operation in the UK, The House of Commons Envoronment Audit Committee is to investigate whether waste water from vehicle washing can harm the environment and pollute rivers, streams and ground water.
The dirt removed from cars, including oil and other contaminants can pollute water sources.
Cleaning agents can be harmful to wildlife and plant life. DEFRA issues guidance to operators on the safe handling of such chemicals.
Stella Creagh MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“Hand car washes are a familiar sight throughout the UK and often offer drivers a cheaper and more convenient alternative to automatic car washes, but they may be having a damaging environmental impact.
“Oil, dirt and cleaning products are often not disposed of correctly, which could be having a significant impact on local water sources and wildlife. The Independent Anti-Slavery Commission has also expressed concerns around the exploitation of the workforce at hand car washes. We are concerned about the cost to the public purse of tackling criminality, including trafficking, tax evasion and enforcement of minimum wage law.”
“Our inquiry will look at the environmental impact of hand car washes and ask how effective the regulations that govern them are. It will also ask the Government how it is meeting its commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals to reduce human exploitation.”