Scrap metal dealers will need new licence under Government legislation

SCRAP metal merchants and dealers in 1066 Country will soon have to have a new licence in order to trade, thanks to new Government legislation.

The new Scrap Metal Dealers Act comes into force on October 1 this year and has been brought in to deal with the rise in metal theft over the last few years.

Existing legislation only requires local authorities, such as Hastings Borough Council, to issue a registration to scrap dealers in the area, which lasts three years and does not cost anything.

The new act increases councils’ powers to refuse and revoke licences and allows them to charge fees for licence processes.

At the council’s cabinet meeting on Monday (September 9), Bob Brown, the council’s licencing manager, said: “Central government has been reviewing various options to deal with the rapid rise in metal theft over the last few years.

“It had become obvious that the old and outdated existing legislation was not an effective tool to deal with this problem. Like the rest of the country, Hastings has experienced serious increases in metal theft such as the theft of lead sheeting from roofs and cable from important electrical infrastructure.”

The new Act creates two different types of licence, a site licence allowing a dealer to carry on business at any sites within a local authority’s district as listed on the licence, and a collector’s licence. The latter covers dealers who do not have a site and collect through door-to-door collections. Both licences will be issued for a three-year period. The Act also introduces a ‘suitable person’ test, similar to the existing ‘fit and proper’ test used for taxi drivers, requiring the council to be satisfied that any applicant is suitable to operate as a dealer.

Cllr Jay Kramer said: “This is excellent news and a fantastic opportunity for us as a council to have more rigorous controls. It has come out of growing concerns over scrap metal theft, and we already have our own problems with this in Hastings and St Leonards. Anything new that helps regulate this area is excellent.”

Cllr Emily Westley said: “Having had issues of theft of scrap metal in my own ward in Hollington it’s a really important act and important tool to have in our toolbox to clamp down on these rogue metal traders and deal with them appropriately.”