The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has welcomed the passage of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill through the House of Lords Committee Stage on 18th January.

Following the UK Government’s ban on cash payments for scrap metal in December the revised bill proposes tougher licensing and enforcement to tackle metal theft by ridding the industry of unscrupulous dealers who act as conduits for stolen metal.

The BMRA welcomes the revised bill’s progress because loopholes and exemptions in the LASPO Act expose legitimate businesses to a drop in trade, job losses and closures whilst allowing criminal activity to continue.

As the legislation currently stands, some metal traders – such as motor vehicle salvage operators – are exempt from the changes brought in under the LASPO Act, which leaves an unfair playing field. This poses a serious challenge to small metal recyclers who rely on the trade of householders and businesses that sell scrap items every day and will undoubtedly take their business to collectors who continue to pay cash. The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill hopes to eradicate these issues by closing off the loopholes and putting a robust regulatory framework in place to back it up.

The LASPO Act made it an offence from 3rd December 2012 for anyone to buy scrap metal for cash or by any form of payment other than a crossed cheque or electronic money transfer under the existing Scrap Metal Dealers Act. This applies to traditional scrap yards as well as 99% of itinerant collectors who go from house to house collecting waste materials including scrap metal.

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) represents the £5bn UK metals recycling industry. Approximately 60% of UK recycled metal is exported. Recycling of metals is also the major contributor to the UK’s achievement of targets under EU Directives such as end-of-life vehicles and packaging.