Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced plans to set up a taskforce to tackle metal theft.
In his Autumn Statement, he said that a £5 million investment will be made to set up a nationwide taskforce to target metal thieves and scrap metal dealers who illegally trade in stolen metal.
There was also relief for energy intensive manufacturing that will impact on the paper sector. This includes increasing the climate change levy relief to 90 per cent from 1 April 2013, compensation for indirect carbon price floor costs, and compensation for indirect EU Emissions Trading Scheme costs.
A Cabinet Committee will also be created that will look to improve the development of UK infrastructure, and efforts to improve the planning process will also be looked at.
Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “The Resource Association welcomes elements of the Chancellor’s statement today, specifically the publication of the National Infrastructure Plan, the announcement of funds and a taskforce to target scrap metal thieves and illegal scrap traders, support for energy-intensive manufacturing (especially in the papermaking sector) and the creation of a new Cabinet committee on infrastructure to be chaired by the Chief Secretary.
“While we wait with impatience for the launch of the Green Investment Bank and real progress following the Government’s Waste Review, the Autumn Statement represents another missed opportunity to give the UK green economy the signals and the boost it needs to ensure our industry can work to its strengths in creating jobs and training opportunities, reducing carbon emissions and increasing resource efficiency in the UK economy.”
On the issue of metal theft, British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) director general Ian Hetherington said: “BMRA welcomes the announcement of a new £5 million taskforce and a dedicated resource to deal with metal theft.
“BMRA has been calling for a properly funded national intelligence unit for some years to identify both illegal scrap metal operations and also to focus on the threat of growing organised crime surrounding metal theft.
“BMRA continues to advise Government and members of Parliament on a range of reforms to the regulation of the scrap metal industry but continues to argue that a ban on cash would not inhibit illegal operators through whom stolen metal is disposed. Not only would it seriously damage the legitimate trade it would only serve to bolster the illegal trade which continues to grow.”