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LGA to release Scrap Metal Dealers Act guidance

The Local Government Association (LGA) aims to release Scrap Metal Dealers Act (SMDA) guidance for local authorities within a fortnight.

The LGA has had to wait for the Home Office to release fees advice before it could fully publish its own guidance, was MRW previously reported.

The Home Office fees guidance has now been released, and the LGA’s draft guidance will be “tweaked” before full publication to allow for any changes resulting from it, a LGA spokesperson told MRW.

The LGA also aims to produce a toolkit on setting licensing fees under the EU Services Directive.

Under the SMDA, scrap metal dealers will have to have a licence, issued by local authorities, in order to carry on trading. There will be a transitional period to implement licences, which has been delayed, as MRW has reported.

The LGA’s draft guidance, seen by MRW, stresses that councils need to agree what fees they will charge applicants as soon as possible. This will prevent a situation where previously registered dealers cannot gain licences on time.

It highlights the questions a council might ask when considering whether a licence is required for an applicant, such as: Whether an individual buys scrap metal for business? Or, whether a company sells metal as a byproduct of its manufacturing process?

It also explains how councils can assess the suitability of an applicant; A council can consider any information it regards as relevant, not just the information on the application form.

Appropriate reasons to refuse an application are described in the incoming legislation, including whether the applicant:

  • Has been convicted of a relevant offence, or subject to any relevant enforcement action
  • Has previously been refused a scrap metal dealers licence or an application to renew a licence has been refused
  • Has previously been refused a relevant environmental permit or registration
  • Had previously held a scrap metal dealers licence that has been revoked

On the matter of grounds for refusal, the LGA’s draft guidance clarifies that there is no central database of council prosecutions so councils are advised to communicate with the police, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales so as to exchange information about applicants’ histories. It states that if an applicant has been convicted of a relevant offence this is not automatic grounds for refusing to grant a licence and the local authority has discretion in this matter.

The SDMA comes into force on 1 October.

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