Car washes to be given kitemark scheme to crack down on modern

Car washes will be given a Kitemark-style scheme to crack down on modern slavery.The Responsible Car Wash Scheme, which is a collaboration of government bodies, is launching on Monday in response to a lack of compliance within the hand car washing industry.It aims to target labour abuse and lack of adherence to regulations as well as tackling environmental waste and pollution caused by car washes.Following the scheme’s pilot in November, the public will be able to choose a car wash based on a logo displayed at responsible sites which have passed an audit.Consumers can be reassured that sites displaying the logo protect the environment and deal with pollution appropriately and operates safe and ethical conditions for its workers.The scheme comes after the UK Modern Slavery Helpline received more than 10,000 reports of slavery in its two years of operation.Last year, it received 493 reports of potential cases of labour exploitation in car washes across the UK, with 2,170 potential victims.New research from the University of Nottingham and the Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner revealed last week that even in sites that do not necessarily run on slave labour, the average wage for a day’s work is £40.They reported the number of hand car washes in the UK could be a result of an inadequate enforcement of environmental policies.Earlier this year, the Environmental Audit Committee published evidence that these sites are also harming biodiversity and impairing local water quality.It said car wash effluent generally contains phosphates, detergents, oils, sediments, traffic film remover, rubber, copper and other metals.If car washes fail to treat the chemicals properly on site, the water, dirt and oil drains off into nearby rivers.The scheme is in conjunction with Waves, a company that washes millions of cars a year at their supermarket, retail and car park sites.Through the new scheme, Waves wants other car washes to follow its lead in regulating car washes.A spokesperson for Waves said: “We have a robust and stringent training and auditing processes to prevent the exploitation of workers and a full-time national team committed to ensuring our practices are followed on every site.“We ensure that every worker has provided full documentation to prove their identity and their right to work in the UK before they can start to work on a Waves site.“All workers are provided with comprehensive training courses with a chance to progress within the company and given appropriate clothing for working outside throughout the different seasons.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.

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