New Home Office Minister Lord Henley has said that the Environment Agency may take on a wider role in dealing with metal theft.
In answer to a question on the issue in the House of Lords last week, Lord Henley said that the Home Office is in discussion with other Government departments to identify whether any legislative changes are needed to tackle metal theft, including introducing a model of cashless transactions
Lord Henley added that he had worked with the Environment Agency in his previous role as Environment Minister at Defra, and could see a greater role for the Environment Agency in tackling metal theft.
He said: “The Environment Agency has a role, although admittedly, that role is reserved purely for environmental matters. There is no reason why that role should not be extended to deal with those that are trading in an irresponsible or criminal matter.
“Having said that, one should always be aware of the danger that one just shifts the problems on illegal sites and it is therefore very important that we look carefully at anything we do and what the consequences of any action are likely to be.”
The Minister added that as part of this, the extended Environment Agency role might include dealing with the issue of stolen metal being placed straight into containers for export, rather than attempting sale into UK scrap yards.