This note has been produced in repose to the question I asked at the Council meeting on 17th April 2013, I hope residents find it of interest.
BRIEFING FOR COUNCILLORS APRIL 2013
The purpose of this briefing note is to explain the role of the Council and its partners in the regulation of Scrap Metal businesses.
At the present time dealers in scrap metal, whether scrap yards or mobile itinerant traders, are required to register their business with the Council’s Licensing Authority whose area they are operating in. This is a requirement under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. Powers are very limited with the only offences being not registering and not keeping a record book.
Those who salvage metal/car parts from vehicles are licensed under another piece of legislation – the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001. This more recent legislation allows for licences to be refused or revoked when an individual was convicted of certain offences.
Due to the rise around the country in scrap metal theft a national scrap metal task force was set up and Greater Manchester Police have established a central unit in order to liaise with Councils and other partners. Each Division also has a dedicated police officer who deals with all inspections and enforcement activity. Likewise, the Council has a Licensing Officer who spends some of her time working alongside our Divisional Police lead.
At the start of 2011 regular inspections of scrap yards and of mobile traders was commenced. Since that date the numbers of persons registered or licensed under either piece of legislation have grown significantly, 2012 – Scrap Metal Dealers 14, Motor Salvage Licences 12, Total 26. 2013 – Scrap Metal Dealers 82, Motor Salvage Licences 36, Total 118.
The biggest rise has been in the itinerant scrap metal dealers who do not have a scrap yard themselves but drive round in trucks, collect scrap and take it to weigh in at other scrap yards. These individuals are often driving without insurance on their vehicles and operate without an environmental permit for waste carrying. When these vehicles are stopped by the Police and Council officers, the result is the seizing of the vehicle by the Police and the issuing of fixed penalties for not having an environmental permit by the Council.
As part of the on-going ‘Operation Alloy’ project across Greater Manchester the Police in conjunction with AGMA Officers have now devised a new application form which asks further questions of the applicant to widen the information gathered to share with partners as other issues such as false benefits claims and housing issues have arisen.
In February 2013 the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 received Royal Assent. It is expected to commence in October 2013 and will replace both the 1964 and 2001 Acts referred to above with one modern piece of legislation.
This legislation has built into it tougher and wider powers for both the Police and Councils. There will be two categories of licence. One will be for scrap yards and the other for itinerant collectors.
The powers contained within Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 include:
• Refusal of a licence when certain convictions are held;
• Revocation for giving false details or the licence holder is not fit to hold a licence;
• The adding of conditions to licences;
• Powers to close un-licensed sites;
• An offence of buying scrap metal for cash
• An offence of failing to keep records
• Wider powers of entry and inspection
Secondary regulations and supplementary guidance from the Home Office is awaited in order to commence a rollout plan. Officers from within the Licensing Unit of the Council will be ready to implement the powers of the new Act from the date of commencement in October 2013.
Until the new Act is commenced, and beyond, Operation Alloy, the current project name, will continue.
Contact Officer: John Garforth, Licensing Unit Manager, 0161 770 5026