The Home Office has launched a review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act.
Stakeholders have until the end of January to submit their recommendations to the department on amendments to the legislation that banned cash payments for scrap metal.
Under the Act, which came into force in October 2013, all scrap metal dealers are mandated to hold a licence. Anyone operating as a scrap metal dealer without a licence now faces a fine of up to £5,000.
Now MRW understands the Home Office has sent out a consultation document to industry figures asking them for their views.
Responding to an MRW request, the department said: “As required under section 18 of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, the Home Office has commenced its review of the legislation and is engaging with the industry, law enforcement and others to gather evidence on its implementation.
“The Home Office has asked for responses by the end of January 2017.”
Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show there were 16,155 metal theft offences recorded by 42 police forces in the year ending March 2016, 38% fewer than in the previous year.
Home Office minister Sarah Newton quoted the figures in the House of Commons, saying they showed the legislation was proving to be effective.
The review was due in 2018 but the Home Office has agreed to a request from the British Metal Recycling Association (BMRA) to bring the process forward.
The BMRA has welcomed the early review, but chief executive Robert Fell said he was concerned with the short consultation period and hoped the Government would “bring more rigour to a number of provisions of the Act”.
“As an industry and a country, we cannot afford to be complacent; we need to strengthen the Act and commit specific police funding to enforcement too.
“The association will be seeking evidence from our members regarding the limitations of the Act to inform our submission to the Home Office.
“At the same time, we will look to work with other partners to enhance and broaden the evidence we submit to support our submission.”