The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has said local authorities have struggled to issue licences as police begin a crackdown on dealers without “appropriate documentation”.
Ian Hetherington, director general of the BMRA, said: “Local authorities have been unable to process applications for scrap metal dealer licences in the limited timeframe set out by the government.
“Licences should be processed and issued by the end of January and we will liaise with the police and councils to ensure that the new legislation is robustly enforced.”
Dealers had until 15 October to apply to their council in order to qualify for a transitional licence. The BMRA said dealers should keep proof of their application before the deadline, such as a receipt from the licensing authority.
Hetherington said he welcomed police action but added: “We urge them to work with licensing authorities to focus their attention on scrap metal dealers flouting the law instead of those who applied in time but haven’t had their licence issued yet.”
The Local Government Association (LGA) said the majority of local authorities had successfully implemented the Act despite “a very tight timetable” that was only made available in August.
Mehboob Khan, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Feedback we have had from authorities suggests that where there have been delays in issuing applications this has been because forms have been incomplete or applicants have had to wait for their basic disclosure certificates to be issued, which is part of the process for assessing applicants’ suitability to hold a licence.”
He councils had written to traders that hadn’t received licences under transitional arrangements in order to prove to police they have transitional licences, allowing them to operate.
But police say they have already been busy enforcing the new laws in a “day of action” directly after they came into effect on 1 December.
Dealers in Kirklees were among those visited by enforcement teams. Mark Schofield, director of scrap metal dealer JB Schofield, told MRW: “None of my Kirklees customers have got their licence as far as I know.”
Inspector Jamie Checkland, task force regional co-ordinator, said: ““Traders have had two months to ensure they are complying with the new legislation to properly apply and receive their appropriate documentation but now we will begin the next phase, where we are actively checking on those suspected of failing to comply with the law.”