Bill passage promises iron fist for metal thieves
The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill, which aims to tackle metal theft, passed through the House of Lords Committee Stage today.
The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has welcomed the passage of the revised bill which proposes tougher licensing and enforcement.
It aims to tackle metal theft by ousting unscrupulous dealers who act as conduits for stolen metal.
This proposed legislation follows the Government's ban on cash payments for scrap metal in December under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012.
BMRA director general Ian Hetherington said it was crucial that the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill is passed as quickly as possible.
"The BMRA welcomes the revised bill's progress because loopholes and exemptions in the LASPO Act expose legitimate businesses to a drop in trade, job losses and closures whilst allowing criminal activity to continue," he said
The LASPO Act made it an offence from 3rd December 2012 for anyone to buy scrap metal for cash or by any form of payment other than a crossed cheque or electronic money transfer under the existing Scrap Metal Dealers Act. This applies to traditional scrap yards as well as 99% of itinerant collectors who go from house to house collecting waste materials.
However, Hetherington noted that some metal traders - such as motor vehicle salvage operators - are exempt from the changes brought in under the LASPO Act, leaving an unfair playing field.
He said: "This poses a serious challenge to small metal recyclers who rely on the trade of householders and businesses that sell scrap items every day and will undoubtedly take their business to collectors who continue to pay cash.
"The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill hopes to eradicate these issues by closing off the loopholes and putting a robust regulatory framework in place to back it up," he added.
The revised Scrap Metal Dealers Bill should return to the House of Lords for the final time in February and could be implemented as early as October.