Agenda item

Scrap Metal Dealers Act (Agenda Item 7)

Report by the Assistant Director of Commissioning.


The Licensing Officer explained that this item was on the agenda for information following the decision by full Council to delegate powers to deal with Scrap Metal licensing to the Committee.  It was noted that power had been delegated to officers to deal with non-contested applications.


She explained that the Act had received Royal Assent in February 2013 and repealed the previous 1964 legislation and part of the Vehicle Crime Act.  In the new Act there were additional powers to refuse or revoke a licence if the dealer was deemed to be unsuitable.  Conditions could be applied if an applicant had been convicted of a relevant offence.


The fees were set locally on a cost recovery basis.  A licence would last for three years and would then need to be renewed.  Checks would be carried out by the Licensing Team with the Police and Environment Agency as to the suitability of applicants.


There were two types of licence; a site licence and a mobile collector’s licence.  The Act required every dealer to have a licence.  In the case of mobile collectors the licence had to be clearly displayed in the vehicle and had to be relevant to the area in which scrap was being collected.  If collection took place from more than one Local Authority area, a separate licence was required for each.


From 1 October 2013 scrap metal could not be bought for cash, either by mobile collectors or at a site.  All transactions had to be by cheque or electronic transfer and proof of identity was required from the seller.


Members raised concerns about the traveller community and how they would cope with the change from cash transactions and with having to provide proof of identity.  It was acknowledge that the cost of enforcement action might increase and that could not be included in the costs covered by the fees.  The police would be actively involved in checking sites and licences. 


The Chairman requested that the police be invited to a future meeting to answer questions and update Members on their activities in relation to the new legislation.


There were conflicting views on whether the Act covered items taken to recycling centres which were then sold on in one form or another and the Licensing Officer said that she would check the exemptions under the legislation.


The Committee would have powers to renew, revoke or vary a licence and to attach the conditions noted in the report in relevant cases.  The transitional period had already begun and current operators were required to apply for a licence by 15 October.


A Member asked if the Committee could check criminal records and he was advised that a disclosure of live offences was required at the point of application.  Some offences could be taken into consideration if they were relevant to the application.


The Chairman suggested that a list of applications should be provided to Members in a similar format to the Weekly List of planning applications.


It was confirmed that neighbouring authorities had been consulted during the fee setting process.  There were some differences due to variations in on-costs, but all authorities would use the same application form and processes.  A County wide forum had been formed and was working on getting consensus.


A formal Policy would be developed in the New Year.  That would be a General Purposes Committee decision but the Licensing Committee would be consulted. 


A publicity campaign would also take place in the New Year to ensure the public were aware of the changes. 


Finally the Licensing Officer noted that out of an expected 40 applications, only nine sites and five collector’s licences had been applied for so far.

The report was noted.


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