The Energy Networks Association (ENA) will call for a cashless system for scrap metal transactions to help prevent metal theft at a parliamentary summit today (22 June).
It is the first such event on the subject as part of a cross-industry approach lobbying MPs to tackle the issue of metal theft.
Minister for crime prevention and anti-social behaviour reduction Baroness Browning will say at the summit: “Good progress is being made on a range of actions from this plan including looking at how we can develop metal alternatives and more coordinated law enforcement approaches, as well as exploring possible options for a cashless system for scrap metal dealers. Nevertheless, we are keen to do more and discussions are underway with a number of government departments to identify further options.”
The Association of Chief Police Officers Metal Theft working group has been commissioned to develop a plan to tackle the problem.
Summit host and MP for West Bromwich East Tom Watson belives “urgent improvements” to legislation are needed, as it has been almost 50 years since metal theft laws were last updated.
ENA chief executive David Smith agrees: “The current legislation is from a time of Steptoe & Son.” Legislation needs updating with a robust and enforceable registration process, greater police powers to close down illegal scrap metal dealers and a move to a cashless system.
“Metal theft has become an increasing problem for our country’s infrastructure and the impact across energy networks, the rail system and telecoms is hindering UK Plc. But this isn’t just about society as a whole and the economy – this affects communities through loss of supply and individuals are dicing with death.”