New laws to prevent metal theft have moved closer after the House of Commons completed the second reading of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill.
It will now proceed to the committee stage and has the backing of the Government.
The Private Member’s Bill has been introduced by Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway and aims to introduce compulsory registration of scrap dealers by local authorities. It will also stipulate tougher applications to get a dealer’s licence as well as give police and local authorities greater powers to suspend and revoke licences of illegal operators.
Home Office Minister James Brokenshire supported the Bill on behalf of the Government. He said: “The Bill is not a silver bullet…We need to take a balanced approach between enforcement, prevention and disruption, but the legislation contemplated in the Bill is important in addressing a number of those elements…
“…The 1964 Act is widely seen as being outdated and in need of reform, and as not reflective of the current £5.6 billion industry…
“The Government has already taken action, both operationally and by making some initial legislative changes. As Members will know, in the previous session, the Government made initial legislative approaches in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which received Royal Assent in May.
“It prohibits cash payment for scrap metal, amends police powers of entry to unregistered scrap metal sites, and increases the financial penalties for offences under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. We anticipate that those measures will be brought into force in the autumn.”
He added that local authorities will be able to charge a fee to administer the registration of scrap dealers. The amount the fee will be set at will be revealed in the committee stage.