August is the cruellest month on the forecourt

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The Independent Online
Nearly half a million new cars are expected to roll off garage forecourts throughout August, as motorists rush to buy vehicles bearing the new "R" registration prefix, which comes into force tomorrow.

Our infatuation with the automobile, however, leaves behind a terrible environmental legacy. More than 1.5 million cars were scrapped last year. Although most of the metal is used again, as much of 20 per cent of the material used in manufacture has to be dumped in landfill sites.

The Government has called on manufacturers to ensure that new models can be more easily recyclable - but many initiatives are still at the research stage.

This may be the last time that drivers rush to buy cars in August. The industry has lobbied against an annual registration prefix change, arguing that up to 20 per cent of the year's sales can be occur in one month. The Government is considering changing the system so that number plates alter twice a year.