Regular readers of the blog of electrical waste recycling firm Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) will know that we have been closely following the movements of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill, from its introduction as a Private Members’ Bill by Conservative backbench MP Richard Ottaway to its recent successful passage through parliament. Now, the bill proposing that local authorities license scrap metal dealers is finally law, having received Royal Assent on 28th February.
Now the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, the new legislation will come into force from October, and gives councils powers to issue a licence to trade in scrap metal. It also closes a loophole created in the Legal Aid and Sentencing of Offenders (LASPO) Act which allows itinerant traders to continue to pay cash for scrap – which has been criticised by many copper and aluminium recycling industry insiders as potentially undermining trade. The LASPO Act was passed last year, and had otherwise banned scrap dealers from trading in cash.
This makes the latest Act the second piece of legislation within a year to attempt to eliminate the illegal trade in stolen metal within the aluminium and copper recycling industry. The powers that have been given to local councils also extend to the revocation or suspension of licences, while the Environment Agency will have responsibility for the maintenance of a publicly available register of all the UK’s licensed scrap dealers. The production of photographic proof of identity at the point of sale of scrap will also be a legal requirement.
Describing the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill’s passage into law as “a milestone in bringing licensing up to date and in tackling metal theft”, Ian Hetherington, director general of the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), said that the new Act’s autumn implementation would “eradicate some of the issues brought about by the introduction of the LASPO Act late last year and will help to close down traders who operate on the wrong side of the law.
“We now have six months in which to work with local authorities, the Environment Agency, the police and members to make sure that everyone has the tools in place to follow and enforce the new rules as quickly as possible.”
The Local Government Association (LGA), the body representing councils, also hailed the new Act, with Councillor Mehboob Khan, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, stating that “councils have long been clear that we need a comprehensive and modern system for running the metal recycling industry, with a proper licensing system to hold scrapyards to account.”
He added that the body welcomed the chance of “working with the Home Office and councils to make sure the system is up and running as quickly as possible.”
Here at scrap metal recycling specialists Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com), we too welcome the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill’s final passage into law. We take pride in ensuring that at all times, our own services are not just convenient to all involved, but also fully compliant with current legislation.