Responding to the Second Reading debate on Richard Ottaway MP's Scrap Metal Dealers Bill in the House of Commons this afternoon, Cllr Mehboob Khan, Chairman of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
"Thefts of scrap metal have been spiralling out of control, and this has been in no small part down to the lack of adequate legislation for regulating scrapyards.
"This bill is a huge step forward towards tackling a national problem which has cost the country hundreds of millions of pounds and caused chaos, disruption and heartache for millions. By supporting this piece of legislation, MPs of all political parties have recognised what a major issue this is.
"Councils have long been clear that we need a comprehensive and modern system for running the metal recycling industry, with a proper licensing system to hold scrapyards to account, similar to the alcohol licensing process.
"While there is still a long way to go, the support to update the Scrap Metal Dealers Act demonstrates that consensus for change across local government is matched in Parliament.
"It will now be important to ensure that the costs of implementing a new licensing regime are not passed onto taxpayers, with local authorities able to set fees to match the cost that they incur. There also needs to be a recognition that challenges posed by the scrap metal industry vary across the country. Councils should have the flexibility to judge on a case by case basis the conditions – like tougher receipt and recording arrangements for certain types of metal that should be attached to licences."
Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Simon Ward, Local Government Association Media Office, Telephone: 020 7664 3333
17 August 2012