Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

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The introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 has been driven by the increase in metal theft due to rising commodity prices. This increase in theft has led to disruption in energy supplies, transport (particularly rail) and telecommunications.

The Act extends to England and Wales, and there is a consultation currently under way in Scotland to introduce similar provisions. The Act maintains local authorities as the main regulators. The measures in the Act are expected to commence in October 2013. This is dependent on the Environment Agency creating the public register system.

Scrap metal licences

It will be a requirement for a scrap metal dealer to have a licence in order to operate a business.

Failure to have a licence could result in an unlimited fine. There are two types of licence:

  • a site licence for fixed premises
  • a collector’s licence for dealers without a site who collect door to door

Licences will be issued by the local authority in which a site or collector operates and will last for three years. Site licences will name the site manager and the expiry date. Collectors’ licences will apply only to the local authority in which the licence was issued. If a collector wishes to operate across another authority area, a separate licence is required. Any material changes to the way of operation, for example, a change of name or cessation of operations within the area of application, must be notified to the local authority.

The local authority needs to be satisfied that licences are only issued to suitable persons. A licence application must consider to whether a person has

  • been convicted of other relevant offences
  • been the subject of relevant enforcement notices
  • previously been refused a scrap metal licence or environmental permit
  • previously revoked a scrap metal licence.

Register of licences

A national register of scrap metal licences will be maintained by the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales. The register will include the name of the local authority, the name of the dealer with their trading name, the address of the site and the type of licence and when it will expire.

Display of licences

A licence must be displayed at the site identified in a prominent place accessible to the public. A collector’s licence must be displayed in the vehicle being used for business and must be readable from outside the vehicle. It is an offence not to display a licence.

Verification of supplier’s identity

A scrap metal dealer cannot receive metal from a person without verifying the person’s full name and address. The verification must be done through reference to documents, data or other information from a reliable and independent source.

Payment for scrap metal

The Act makes it an offence for a dealer to pay cash for scrap metal. The only authorised means of paying for scrap metal are a non-transferable cheque or an electronic transfer of funds. Mobile collectors are no longer exempt from the requirement.

Record keeping

Scrap metal dealers must keep a record of any scrap metal received or disposed of in the course of their business. For metal received, the dealer has to record the details of the date and time it is received, the registration number of any delivery vehicle and the name and address of anyone who brought it in.

Dealers also must keep copies of any documents they have used to verify the name and address of someone they have received metal from and the cheque or receipt given when the metal is paid for.

Where metal is disposed of, the dealer must keep a record of its description, the date and time of its disposal, and the name and address of any person it was sold to.

This information must be recorded in a manner that enables the information and the scrap metal to be readily cross-referenced. The records must be maintained for a period of three years from the date of receipt or disposal.

How can RSK help?

RSK has a long and successful history of working with the construction and waste sectors on a range of environmental, health and safety issues, including waste management. Their waste experts and compliance teams across the UK can support you and your organisation in

  • developing and implementing waste management strategies
  • legal compliance and management system auditing of sites and contractors
  • licence, environmental permit (standard and bespoke) and Schedule 3 exemptions application -training and awareness programmes for site and management teams.

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