Writing exclusively for a forthcoming issue of MRW, MP David Hanson warns that delays to a review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 could see a return to the heights of metal theft seen in 2011-12 as prices rise.
Hanson, who was previously Labour’s shadow police minister, stated: “It has now been more than a year since the Government announced in a Parliamentary question that it would ‘shortly’ be publishing the review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. We still have no review and there are worrying signs that the Act is crumbling under growing pressure.”
david hanson mp 2017
The Government launched the review in December 2016, and said the deadline for responses was January 2017.
Hanson has tabled a Parliamentary question to seek an answer for when the review will be published.
“If the Government does not take the action needed now, we will no doubt see a return to the heights of metal theft seen in 2011-12,” he wrote. Metal theft, such as of railway signal cables and church roof lead, causes “misery to thousands of people”, he added.
Hanson said that scrap metal prices are now rising since the lows of summer 2016, and warned of a direct correlation between prices and how much theft takes place. Concurrently, the police have 20,000 fewer officers since 2010.
Since the 2013 Act, all scrap metal dealers have been mandated to hold a licence or face a fine of up to £5,000.
The review was due in 2018 but the Government agreed to bring the process forwards at the request of the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA). At the time, BMRA chief executive Robert Fell said he hoped the Government would “bring more rigour to a number of provisions of the Act”.