The workshops denounce the great activity of illegal businesses

It is difficult to have exact figures on how many illegal mechanical workshops there are in Spain, but the Spanish Confederation of Repair Workshops (CETRAA) estimates that 20% of the currently operating workshops throughout the country work without the relevant licenses and permits. In fact, the economic crisis situation may have caused or may have proliferated this type of clandestine business or, in turn, may have seen how its activity and clientele have grown, as many consumers have gone to these fraudulent workshops attracted by their prices. Lower.

Be that as it may, it is a practice that exists in the province, and this is denounced by some workshop owners who comply with all the requirements. One of them, who prefers to remain anonymous, assures that only in the area of ​​Tarragona, Reus and Vilaseca there are more than 20 clandestine businesses, located in industrial warehouses behind closed doors and in farmhouses, among others. The businessman assures that they carry out all kinds of work, from those of mechanics to painting and upholstery.

«There always have been, but the way things are, it seems that there are more and more. They raise our costs and they also harass us with taxes, regulations and at the very least they fine us, and they don't say anything to these people. Even I have considered setting up an illegal workshop, ”says the business owner. Another businessman from a legal mechanical workshop also warns of the risks involved in this type of activity. "In addition to not paying taxes or social security or anything, that is, defrauding the Treasury, we must also take into account that these workshops are a danger to the environment and to safety," he laments.

In this sense, the owner of the workshop denounces that clandestine businesses throw the oil and all the waste into the field, with the damage that this causes in the ecosystem, and warns consumers that they fix the car without any type of guarantee. “There are some who are mechanics and know how to do depending on the job, but there are also many sloppy people, and that poses a risk to the safety of drivers. A car was welded to one of them in an illegal workshop and it broke in half in the middle of the highway," he says, while recalling that "another client told me that he took his vehicle to one of these businesses to have it come out cheaper and when he told me what he had paid it turned out that it was more expensive than with me ».

So far this year, the Nature Protection Service (Seprona) of the Civil Guard has carried out six inspections of workshops, of which on five occasions they did not present the licenses to carry out the activity and different infractions were observed, such as in the management of the waste created and for not complying with the necessary security measures. For this reason, 38 sanction proposals were made during the inspections. The number of dismantling in the province was not very different throughout last year, in 2021. Eight inspections were carried out on workshops, of which seven did not present a license and in which 42 sanction proposals were carried out.

Unlicensed activities pose a safety and environmental risk

One of the last inspections in which the workshop was found to be illegal was carried out at the end of September this year in the town of L'Ampolla. Agents from Seprona and the Tortosa Fiscal Service located a clandestine mechanical workshop near the old N-340, inside a private farm, where vehicle repair and maintenance work was carried out. During the inspection, they discovered several vehicles in the repair phase, as well as tools for professional use and components related to said activity, such as used tires, oils, paints, batteries, disassembled engines, etc.

These types of activities cause a large amount of polluting waste that, outside of administrative control, can cause significant episodes of contamination of the natural environment, as there are no industrial safety measures. For this reason, the agents proceeded to prepare different complaints regarding waste, industrial safety and administrative licenses.

Another of the dismantled illegal workshops was in Camarles. At the beginning of April, the Seprona agents verified that in this, located in the district of Lligallo de Gànguil, repair and maintenance tasks of all kinds of vehicles were being carried out. As a result of the citizen collaboration received, they came to know that the workshop was installed in the basement of a private home. During the search, they discovered machinery, tools and facilities typical of a professional mechanical workshop, verifying the activities that had been carried out, all without Municipal Environmental License, Industrial Safety Registry or Waste Producer Registry.

However, Emili Beltrán, general secretary of the Tarragona Automotive Repair Shops and Vendors Business Association (Astave), downplays the matter and, despite acknowledging the existence of these illegal activities, assures that "it is not about an extraordinarily significant number, and much less in comparison with other Spanish provinces”. In any case, Beltrán denounces that “the administrations carry out many inspections of the workshops that are open to the public, which is easy, but they do not provide enough resources to detect those illegal businesses hidden behind closed doors. This is the problem". Likewise, the representative of the sector says that they have also detected itinerant mechanics, who move with a van doing work without the necessary license.

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