BMRA is dismayed by the news that the Home Office has chosen not to strengthen the SMDA or fund its proper enforcement.

British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) is extremely disappointed by the Home Office’s announcement that it will simply retain the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 rather than strengthen it to ensure that, as a piece of legislation, it is fit for purpose.

BMRA is further dismayed that, despite the rising incidents of metal theft, they have chosen not to allocate funds to enforce the Act through the reestablishment of the Metal Theft Taskforce.

Instead, Government has chosen to take the path of least resistance, thereby ignoring the pleas by the many victims of crime to strengthen the Act. Since the review was announced, we have repeatedly warned that, as metal prices recover, the reports of metal theft will rise – and they have done, significantly.

When the Review was announced, while BMRA firmly supported the move to retain the Act, it in fact pleaded with Government to both further strengthen and enforce the Act. The measures we request to strengthen the Act included:

  • Creating disincentives to receive cash payments by creating a new offence of receiving cash for scrap metal.
  • Expanding police powers to inspect itinerant collectors, more specifically given them the power to inspect vehicles used for the purpose of carrying on business as a mobile collector.
  • Creating a more rigorous local authority licensing regime to ensure transparency and consistency by: Harmonising licensing renewals procedure; Improving application process; and, strengthening the requirement for local authorities to provide data.

Having ignored these requests for the Act to be amended, and those made by other key stakeholders, the Home Office must be prepared to be held accountable for soaring metal theft figures, and any resulting injuries to members of the public.

Nevertheless, BMRA will gladly take up the Home Office’s offer to help it identify what can be done within the existing legislation to address the serious shortcomings of the SMDA 2013.

Home Office Review of SDMA 2013 pub 11 Dec 2017.pdf


For further information, please contact:

Antonia Grey
t. 01480 455249
m. 07812037613
e. [email protected]


Notes to editors:

1. The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) represents the £7 billion UK metals recycling industry.

2. The BMRA’s 260+ members include large and small businesses in the ferrous and non-ferrous sectors including shredder operators, merchants and traders.

3. Metals recycling is a globally competitive and environmentally important industry. It supplies secondary raw material, which preserves natural resources, saves energy and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80 per cent in metals production.

4. The UK metal recycling industry is so efficient at recovering metal from end-of-life products that more is recovered than can be consumed domestically. As a result, around over 80 per cent of all ‘waste’ metal is now destined for export. This means we are competing against suppliers from the USA and Japan who are not required to characterise recycled metal as waste.

5. Recycling of metals is also the major contributor to the UK’s achievement of targets under EU Directives such as end-of-life vehicles and packaging.

6. In 2016, the UK exported 8 million tonnes of recovered ferrous (iron and steel) metal and approximately 750 thousand tonnes of non-ferrous metal (such as aluminium and copper).