Enforcement of Scrap Metal Dealers Bill delayed

scrap metal dealers act

The enforcement period for the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act will be delayed by a month, according to British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA).

The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill, approved by Parliament on 12 February 2013, officially become law on 28 February after achieving royal assent.

The bill, tabled by Richard Ottaway MP, was due to be implemented ‘as early as October’, however, Ian Hetherington, Director General of the BMRA, has announced that the enforcement date of the act will be delayed.

He said: “The enforcement date of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act has been delayed from 1 November until 1 December 2013 as central government and local authorities still need to provide finalised guidance for operators and licensing authorities and set detailed regulations for the new licensing system for scrap metal dealers.

“This is a big undertaking but we are keen for local authorities to get it right. All the provisions of the new act should be fully in force by the end of the year.

“The current timetable is likely to only provide registered scrap metal dealers with a very limited window to apply for a new licence. They will need to be ready to apply to their local authority by 15 October in order to minimise disruption to their business.”

Hetherington added that BMRA will communicate new requirements to its members through “email bulletins, leaflets, posters and a comprehensive guidance document”. 

Scrap Metal Dealers Act details

According to the Home Office there are around 1,000 metal thefts every week, costing the UK an estimated £220 million each year.

As part of the new law, all scrap metal dealers will be required to hold licences in an attempt to clamp down on rogue traders. Local authorities and the police will have the power to revoke licences if they suspect a dealer of illegal activity, such as dealing in cash, operating without a license or breaching the license conditions.

These illegal actions could result in heavy penalties, with magistrates being able to impose unlimited fines on offenders.

In addition, the act now means that:

  • an ‘enhanced’ application process for scrap dealers is to come into force;
  • anyone selling scrap metal to a dealer must provide identification at the point of sale, which will then be recorded and retained by the dealer;
  • police will be able to close unlicensed premises through the courts;
  • a single national publicly-available register of all scrap metal dealers will be established;
  • in an attempt to close loopholes, motor salvage operators will be brought under the banner of scrap metal dealers, whilst ‘itinerant’ dealers will no longer be able to deal in cash; and
  • compulsory vehicle and site badging will also come into effect.

Read more on the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill.