Scrap Metal Dealers Act: A new era

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013
Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

On 1 October 2013, the Scrap Metal Dealers Act come into force and will herald a new era for metals recycling.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 has replaced the increasingly out-dated Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and brings with it up-to-date legislation governing the metals recycling for the first time in nearly half a century.

Over the recent years scrap metals recycling has been tarnished by metal theft despite most businesses in the sector operating within the law. The Act will be a valuable tool in the fight against metal theft because it will limit the potential outlets for stolen metal and expose unscrupulous dealers who act as conduits for stolen metal.

The new Act will replace the outdated 1964  and puts in place a more effective licensing system for scrap metal dealers as outlined below:

Licensing regime
The new requirements will require all site-based and mobile scrap dealers, including motor salvage operators, to obtain a licence from their local authority in order to continue operating legally. The licensing authority, then, have a duty to check the criminal records and suitability of applicants to operate as a scrap metal dealer.

Non-cash payments
Although, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 made it an offence to buy scrap metal for cash or by any form of payment other than a crossed cheque or electronic money transfer, some metal traders were exempt which created an unfair playing field and exposed businesses to a drop in trade.

This ban on cash payments for scrap metal will be extended under the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act to all metal dealers including traditional scrap yards, mobile collectors and motor vehicle salvage operators.

Identity verification and records
Under the new Act, dealers must verify and record the identity of anyone from whom they buy scrap metal. This requirement will further discourage thieves who will be asked to produce photographic identification when seeking to sell stolen metal and provide an enforcement mechanism for the police to enter and inspect unlicensed premises backed up by increased penalties for breaking the law such as higher fines and sentences.

For further information, copies of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 can be found at: together with the previous Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act 1964 for comparison at:

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