Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway has been on a fact-finding trip hosted by the British Metals Recycling Association.
He is currently attempting to reform the scrap metal industry through a Private Members’ Bill and visited BMRA members F J Church and Sons in Rainham, Essex and EMR in Erith on 6 July to learn more about the issues affecting the metals recycling industry.
F J Church and Sons owner Patrick Church said: “It was useful to meet Mr Ottaway to explain about the metals industry and how reforming the Scrap Metal Dealers Act can help our business.
“We are fully supporting the Private Members’ Bill which should create a level playing field when it comes to a ban on trading scrap metal for cash. Metal recycling in the UK plays a vital role in helping the country to meet its recycling and recovery targets while creating green jobs and reducing greenhouse gases.
“It is important that changes to legislation are implemented with minimal disruption to legitimate businesses so the industry can continue to make this valuable contribution.”
Richard Ottaway MP said: “The visit today has been very beneficial. I am very keen to work with the British Metals Recycling Association and others affected by the Bill to ensure it achieves its aim while helping businesses to thrive.
“While the proposed reforms of the Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act (SMDA) will not eradicate metal theft altogether, it will make it harder for thieves to dispose of stolen metal, and those operating outside of the law will face tougher punishment, unlimited fines and the threat of losing their licence.”
BMRA is calling for the licensing system to be linked to a transparent national register of scrap metal merchants available to householders and businesses selling scrap metal which could be maintained by the Environment Agency in parallel with the existing permitting system.
It also wants to ensure that any enhanced police powers to not disrupt the day to day running of legitimate businesses and is calling for a proper judicial process where licence suspensions are necessary.
BMRA director general Ian Hetherington said: “It is vital that a revised SMDA is introduced in a timely fashion with regard fashion with regard to regulatory changes made through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) bill.
“This has left some loopholes in current legislation and it is vital that these are addressed by a revised SMDA before LASPO is introduced. This will negate serious disruption for individual businesses and the secondary metals market as a whole.”