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Metal Recycling News August 29, 2017 01:30:03 PM

BMRA Calls For Urgent Scrutiny of Scrap Metal Dealers Act

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
The BMRA noted that the association had welcomed SMDA when it was introduced in 2013 under the strong belief that ban on cash payments by scrap yards and enhanced identity checks of sellers and buyers would lead to significant reduction, if not stoppage of stolen scrap materials trade.

BMRA Calls For Urgent Scrutiny of Scrap Metal Dealers Act

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster):  The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), along with eight other stakeholders of the ‘Alliance for Combatting Metal Theft’ has issued a joint letter to Members of Parliament demanding a proper review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (SMDA). It also called upon the authorities to reinstate funding towards establishment of a stronger metal theft taskforce to combat metal thefts.

The BMRA noted that the association had welcomed SMDA when it was introduced in 2013 under the strong belief that ban on cash payments by scrap yards and enhanced identity checks of sellers and buyers would lead to significant reduction, if not stoppage of stolen scrap materials trade. The initial interventions had yielded results too. However, enforcement funding has dried up over the period. As of today, there exists no metal theft task force. The lack of dedicated police officers has resulted in many scrap yards resuming cash trade of scrap metals, much to the benefit of scrap metal thieves.

The Association noted that along with the introduction of SMDA, funded interventions such as Operation Tornado too had played a significant role in bringing down the metal theft rate. In addition, crash in metal prices during those times might also have contributed to drop in metal theft rate, it noted. However, with metal prices rebounding, theft incidents too are on the rise, BMRA said. The rising prices of lead and copper are likely to impact theft levels. Unless an action is taken immediately, we are in all likelihood of returning to the darker days of metal theft, said BMRA chief executive Robert Fell.

For instance, theft of nearly 8 kilometres of copper cable was reported from North of England and Scotland in the past few weeks. Recently, cable theft had resulted in nearly three days of interruption of railway traffic near Abergavenny. Also, Hoddesdon and Cheshunt reported several incidents of thefts of bronze statues and vases from graves. Scrap metal thefts from church premises have surged higher significantly during recent times.

It must be noted that the Home Office under the UK government had launched a review of the Act in December 2016, nearly eighteen months ahead of the due date. In its response, BMRA had extended full support to the Act. At the same time, it had recommended several amendments towards effective implementation of the Act. The BMRA had also urged the government to develop more effective enforcement regime to meet the objectives of the SMDA.

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