UK Scrap Metal Legislation Begins

Act was passed due to rampant theft of scrap metal throughout the United Kingdom.

October 2, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
A legislative act that attempted to curb the rampant theft of scrap metal in the United Kingdom has gone into effect. In passing the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, the British Parliament noted that between 2010-2011 there were an estimated 80,000-100,000 reported metal theft offenses, which cost the economy at least £220-260 million (US$350-420 million) and up to £777 million per year, according to the U.K.’s Association of Chief Police Officers. 

To combat this, the British Parliament passed an act earlier this year that requires more regulatory control and documentation for the scrap metal sector. Under the act, all scrap metal dealers, auto recyclers and other collectors of scrap metal need to obtain a license from each local authority where they operate. The deadline to obtain the license, which must be displayed prominently at the site, is Oct. 15, 2013.

Additionally, the act calls for all licensed scrap metal recyclers to undergo background checks and requires companies to pay for all material either through check or bank transfer to ensure there is a record for each transaction.

The act also requires all sellers of the scrap metal to provide identification, which is recorded by the scrap metal company.

Ian Hetherington, director general of the British Metals Recycling Association, says, “The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 updates the legal framework for metal recycling following the modernization of the industry. In the fight against metal theft, the new act improves the traceability of scrap metal transactions, limits potential outlets for stolen metal and establishes increased penalties for breaking the law.”

To view the legislation, click here