A ban on using cash to buy metal for recycling could lead to hundreds of metal recyclers closing unless it forms part of broader reform, according to the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA).
The BMRA believes that the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (1964) needs to be reformed, and without this will have a big impact on small scrap dealers.
BMRA director general Ian Hetherington said: “BMRA’s smallest members, who make up nearly 30 per cent of our membership, are under real threat of survival as a direct result of new legislation which will ban scrap metal dealers from paying cash for scrap.
“The legislation contains a number of loopholes and weaknesses which will allow scrap metal to continue being traded for cash. It will severely damage those metals recyclers operating within the law and complying with the cash ban as they will lose trade from small businesses and householders – the very customers they rely upon – who will be attracted away by those still buying metal for cash. The resulting closure of these compliant businesses will lead to significant job losses and a drop in recycling rates which goes completely against the Government’s green agenda.
“A complete overhaul of the outdated 1964 Scrap Metal Dealers Act would provide the robust framework needed to allow the police and other enforcement agencies to ensure the ban on cash is adhered to while protecting legitimate businesses and closing any loopholes.”
The BMRA is calling for an effective licensing system that would ensure that all metals recyclers appear on a single national register, including the itinerant collectors, car breakers and dismantles and potentially those buying precious metal.
All would then be subject to a ban on cash trading and would be required to use CCTV and to keep a proper of all transactions with photographic identification. Together with an overhaul of the licensing system, BMRA is calling for a nationally coordinated approach from the police and the Environment Agency with stronger sentencing and appropriate penalties for those stealing metal and those setting out to dispose of it.
The BMRA continues to work with Government on the issue and hopes the measures will be introduced through a Private Members’ Bill early in this session of Parliament.