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Transitional period of Scrap Metal Dealers Act delayed

The transitional period to help councils prepare for the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (SMDA) will be delayed by one month.

Registered scrap metal dealers now have until 15 October to apply for a temporary licence, according to a presentation by head of designing out crime at the Home Office, Richard Pugh, at an industry conference on 23 July.

MRW reported concern at the original schedule in July.

Although the SDMA will still take effect from 1 October, the enforcement has been delayed to 1 December. Full licences will now be required by all dealers on 1 December.

The temporary licence period, which allows legitimate dealers to continue to trade, has been moved to 1 October to 30 November, according to the LGA. The original period was between 1 September to 31 October.

Ian Hetherington, director general of the British Metal Recyclers Association (BMRA) said: “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.”

He said the current timetable only provides registered scrap metal dealers with a very limited window to apply for a new licence. He said they need to apply by October 15 “to minimise disruption to their business.”

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA) said: “[The delay] was something that we were pushing for because the original timetable was becoming too tight to allow councils to process claims when they had not had the fees guidance from the Home Office and various regulations would not be laid until August.

“The new arrangements now mean that councils will be able to ensure a smooth transition to the new regime.”

A Home Office spokesperson refused to comment on the reasons for the delay to the full enforcement of the law, but confirmed that the Home Office is revising the transitional arrangements. The fees guidance will be issued shortly, they said, and confirmed that there will be enough time for authorities to set up correctly and process applications from scrap metal dealers.

  • Last month Ian Hetherington said that MRW’s sampling of councils indicated a worrying trend where most were unsure about the details of the licensing system under the new SMDA.

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