As parliament prepared to rise for the summer, there was the usual flurry of activity. Foremost was a significant step forward for the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill, which last week got cross-party support at its second reading and is looks likely to become law by autumn 2013.
Work will continue apace on metal theft over the summer break.
Moves to outlaw cash payments by scrap metal dealers seem unstoppable, particularly in the context of experiences across the channel, where Paris has reportedly seen a 50% drop in metal theft related crime after its cash ban. But police have coyly but clearly admitted that the cash ban might cause an increase in illegal exports of stolen metals (page 5) and that they are drawing up plans to combat this.
This is important but shouldn’t dominate debate. Finding ways to ensure that the ban doesn’t penalise small businesses must be a top priority. Likewise, the practicalities and workability of local authority-led licencing scheme need attention. So far the industry has had a seat at the table. It must keep up the pressure to ensure these important concerns are heard and acted on.
Meanwhile, two delayed energy from waste (EfW) announcements will slip into autumn: Defra’s residents’ guide to EfW and the delayed decision on the level of Renewables Obligation Certification subsidy available for renewable energy. These delays and uncertainties damage EfW growth.
It is time for the self-appointed greenest government ever to recognise and support the growth of the green economy.