Introduction and background to the review

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 was introduced to tackle rising levels of metal theft. Prior to the Act, metal theft offences were increasing, driven by the rising cost of metals on the world commodity market. The cost of these offences to the UK was estimated to be at least £220 million per annum, and the crimes posed a threat to the security of the national infrastructure and affected a range of sectors including power, transport and telecommunications. The purpose of the Act was to reverse the upward trend in levels of metal theft through stricter regulation of the metal recycling sector to make it more difficult to dispose of stolen metal. The Act: • requires a scrap metal dealer to hold and display a licence, issued by the relevant local authority. This can be either a site licence or a mobile collector’s licence; • permits local authorities to charge a licence fee, set locally, at cost recovery; • allows for the closure of unlicensed sites; • requires local authorities to provide appropriate information to enable the Environment Agency in England and the Natural Resources Body for Wales to maintain national registers of licences; • requires scrap metal dealers to verify the identity and address of persons from whom they receive metal; • makes it an offence for a scrap metal dealer to purchase scrap metal for cash; • sets out the record-keeping requirements in respect of any scrap metal received or disposed of by scrap metal dealers; and • provides the police and local authorities with a right to enter and inspect scrap metal dealers’ premises.

Scrap metal prices

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