The scrap metal recycling industry faces further legal changes from 1 October 2013.

Following on from last December’s ‘cash ban’, the changes this autumn are to the former 1964 Scrap Meta Dealers act. The new Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 introduces both the requirement to take ID with every transaction and a Local Authority lead licensing system.

Local authorities will issue the fee-based 3-year licenses after carrying out checks on all directors and managers of a site, and will have the power to refuse the licenses. A new national register of metal dealers will be created and police granted new powers to enter and inspect unlicensed sites.

Mobile collectors will also require a license and will require a separate license for each local authority in which they operate. These licenses will need to be displayed prominently on the collector’s vehicle, and the collector is also required to keep detailed records of equivalent standard to site-licensed premises.

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) plans to issue its members with flyers and posters to be distributed to their customers and collectors notifying them of the changes. The BMRA’s position throughout the legal process has been that if the law changes, it has to be robustly policed so as not to disadvantage its legitimate members.

These sentiments are echoed by local BMRA members Mason Metals. “The industry has had to rapidly adapt to the new requirements. The legitimate metal merchants welcomed the opportunity to conform and work with the authorities. As always, the benefit was deemed to be the end of the rogue traders that brought about the need for these changes in the first place. We hope to see this carried through and the joint taskforces supporting our businesses and penalising anybody who’s not on the right side of the law” stated managing director Andrew Jones.

“Much of the trade has already voluntarily adopted the main statutes of the law – such as the taking of photographic ID – and did so before the cash ban in December. We do however need this level playing field for business, as making such expensive changes through a recession was never going to be easy. Metal recycling is the great recycling success story and we have a real opportunity to put it in the correct hands for the future.”

Last week saw the first prosecution under the new law, as a metal dealer from Newport, South Wales was fined £225 by Cwmbran Magistrates Court for paying in cash for scrap metal.