UK metal recyclers complain about pace of issuing licenses

British Metals Recycling Association says 40 percent of the business licenses required for scrap metal recyclers have yet to be issued.

April 23, 2014
RTGE Staff
Legislation & Regulations

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has called on the United Kingdom’s government to accelerate the issuing of licenses required for scrap metal dealers to conduct business under the recently implemented Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act 2013.

In an announcement, the BMRA notes that six months after the legislation was implemented in England and Wales, around 40 percent of licenses have yet to be issued. The act, which went into enforcement on Dec. 1, 2013, requires both mobile and site-based scrap metal dealers to obtain a license to operate. The BMRA says that a significant number of scrap metal dealers are operating without a license despite submitting their applications before the Oct. 15, 2013 deadline, which is causing a loss of business for legitimate traders as many customers will only deal with licensed operators.

In a release, Ian Hetherington, director general of the BMRA, says, “It is imperative that councils struggling with scrap metal dealer licenses are given the adequate support to process them as quickly as possible. If not, legitimate traders may be put out of business as they are now required to possess a license to operate legally.

“Enforcing the new legislation is a challenge for local authorities and police due to declining budgets and resources. However, the licenses are self-financing, so sufficient resources must be allocated. Otherwise, the new system only increases the administrative burden for law-abiding dealers while illegal operators go unpunished and undermine the industry.”

He adds, “It was extremely concerning to hear that funding for the National Metal Theft Taskforce has been withdrawn and it will be disbanded due to a decreasing focus on metal theft. Home Offices figures, which show a decline in metal theft offenses across England and Wales in 2012-13, prove that coordinated enforcement is effective in reducing metal related crime. If the new Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act is not enforced properly then metal theft will increase in the long term and the police will be overwhelmed.”