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Home Office Decides Not to Strengthen Scrap Metal Dealers Act

Towards the end of last year, the Hill Metal Recycling team highlighted an important development in the scrap metal recycling industry. That is, the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (SMDA) – which was brought in to help eliminate unlicensed metal trading – was under review due to a lack of enforcement.

Why the Act was under review

Despite the success of the SMDA (metal theft decreased by 74% in the UK between 2012 and 2016), and the initial spike in confidence with the police force and local authorities, enforcement funding for the SMDA was cut considerably. There was no metal theft task force to enforce the Act, and neither were there dedicated police offices to act as a deterrent.

Unfortunately, in 2016, metal prices began to spike again along with metal theft. Consequently, the SMDA was put under review by the Home Office, with over 50 bodies submitting a response.

Although metal recyclers were pleading for a broadening of the act, more recently, the Home Office has decided that they will not strengthen the SMDA, and neither will they put measures in place to fund its proper enforcement.

The Home Office’s decision to neglect the Act

So, what did metal recyclers want to get from the strengthening of the act? Well, the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) were hoping to see the following:

  • Disincentives to receive cash payments by creating a new offence of receiving cash for scrap metal.
  • An expansion of police powers to inspect itinerant collectors.
  • A more rigorous local authority licensing regime to ensure transparency and consistency.

However, despite their rallying, the requests were ignored and, as you can imagine, the BMRA is very disheartened by the news that the Home Office will only be retaining the Act, rather than strengthening it.

On top of this, the decision to provide no extra enforcement for the Act as it stands has led to further outrage since, as a piece of legislation, the SMDA may now prove fruitless despite retaining its status.

Although the BMRA are rightly frustrated, they have taken up the Home Office’s offer to aid in identifying what can be done within the parameters of the existing legislation to end the worrying spike metal theft, and to address the obvious shortcomings of the SDMA itself.

At Hill Metal Recycling we pride ourselves on the fact that we are the leading recycler of ferrous and non-ferrous metals throughout Harlow, Hertfordshire and the surrounding areas. We are affiliated with the DVLA and Environment Agency bodies and are widely qualified and experienced to appropriately handle and dispose of all types of scrap metal. We offer a 24 hour scrap collection service, including cars, for commercial and some domestic needs. To discuss the best prices you can fetch for your scrap metals, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly team today!