0845 468 0388 info@smda.org.uk

A joint statement was recently made by the BMRA and the VRA neither of whom have collectors as their members. This statement is below , along with our response. Interesting that these two Associations are actually claiming that the collectors shouldn’t follow the law… Time will tell as to the liability these statements will hold int he future.

The following statement was issued to BMRA and VRA members about the Scrap Metal Dealers Association despite not having collectors as their members. As many of our members are joint members of each of these associations it has caused some confusion. Here is our timely response.

On Friday 31 January 2020, the British Metals Recycling Association issued a joint statement alongside the Local Government Association, the Institute of Licensing, the National Association of Licensing Enforcement Officers and the Vehicle Recyclers’ Association regarding information being disseminated by the Scrap Metal Dealers Association and the National Metal Agency.

The statement is as follows:

We are aware that the Scrap Metal Dealers Association (SMDA) has contacted licensing authorities, other government agencies and metal dealers asserting that the definition of a mobile collector (as defined in the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (the Act)) has been misinterpreted by licensing authorities. 

RESPONSE: True. If half the L.A.’s are licensing one way and half are not, then half have misinterpreted the law. During 2019 Local Authorities and Police were paying for the Scrap Metal Dealers Association training as to licensing the industry. It quickly became apparent that half the licensing authorities were licensing all collectors of scrap metal and the other half were not. We have informed everyone that the wording of the law can be found in section 22 of the Act, and we have advised everyone to follow the 2013 Act and definitely not to make their own interpretation.

. They are also using their presence on social media platforms, specifically Facebook, to promote this view as well as suggesting that most mobile collectors do not fall under this definition and therefore do not require a licence.  

RESPONSE: True. Please go to facebook Scrap Metal Dealers Association page to see for yourselves. Why is there metal theft? Because only the law abiding sites are being policed, not the unknown collectors that roam the streets.
We do not agree with SMDA’s interpretation of the Act, nor do we condone their actions.

RESPONSE: We are advising collectors to follow the word of the law. To condone our actions is a bit rich from the BMRA that hoodwinked their members in 2012 into believing BTP had authority to raid our businesses ( they are railway police as proven by our Association in 2018 Royal Courts of Justice ), or the VRA in allowing the BTP to arrest and seriously assaulted a fully licensed innocent Motor Salvage Operator;; the first person arrested in 2012 under the scrap metal dealers act 1964 whilst still under the Vehicles Crime Act. Furthermore the VRA were quite happy to flog their members a £24 book last month, on the many problems that the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 has.
Our view recognises the correct interpretation of the Act to mean anyone dealing in scrap metal requires either a mobile collector’s licence or a site licence. 

RESPONSE: THE BMRA and VRA can have any opinion they want. but telling folk the opposite of the law is going to end in tears.

  The law states(4) “Mobile collector” means a person who— (a) carries on business as a scrap metal dealer otherwise than at a site,  AND

  •  (b) regularly engages, in the course of that business, in collecting waste materials and old, broken, worn out or defaced articles by means of visits from door to door.

 A person that collects scrap metal by means of visits from ‘door-to-door’, whether by appointment or otherwise, is caught by the definition of a mobile collector and as such requires a licence from the relevant licensing authority/authorities.

RESPONSE: ABSOLUTELY THE POINT -HALF OF LICENSING AUTHORITIES LICENCE BY THIS AND HALF DON’T. As the majority of collectors do not collect by means of door to door they are not a mobile collector defined in the 2013 Act.

 “ Mobile collectors that operate without a relevant scrap metal dealers’ licence are committing an offence and, if convicted, may receive a fine of up to £5,000.

RESPONSE: This is true if they break the 2013 law. But if the collector is not covered by that law then they can’t be fined.[nice bit of scare mongering ]
Communications from the SMDA also refer to the formation of a new ‘National Metal Agency’ (NMA), effective 20 February 2020.

RESPONSE: FALSE: There is nothing new about the NMA. BTP were told in May 2019 of its existence and were shown a structure of the different departments and how it processed information data. Registration of collectors starts on 20th February 2020.  The National Metal Agency has been funding some councils training throughout 2019.

The NMA is neither a government, industry nor police organisation and does not have the powers to issue licences or maintain any form of register under the Act.

RESPONSE: The NMA is a data intelligence Agency. It is not issuing licences and has never purported to. The whole point of the registration of collectors is that it registers those not caught in the Act.

  Any views publicised by organisations claiming to be able to issue licences or registrations should be viewed with caution. 

RESPONSE: Neither the NMA nor the SMDA are claiming or have ever claimed to be able to issue licences. Another bit of scare mongering to add confusion.

Submitting operator details to the proposed NMA ‘register’ is not a substitute for holding a scrap metal dealers’ licence as issued by the relevant licensing authority, even if the operator collects by appointment only.

RESPONSE: The registration is for collectors that are operating without a licence with the Local Authority.  We all know of many that do, this registration is for them.
In addition, we would like to remind local authorities of the requirement to provide information on all licences issued in their areas to the Environment Agency (in England) and the Natural Resources Wales so that they can maintain publicly accessible national registers. 

RESPONSE: As sites we know that the  LA’s do not update their details within 28 days. How many of us have banks or insurance companies that contact us saying that they can’t find our details, yet we have paid for licensing. How many have falsely claimed collectors are sites and put their home addresses ( even first floor flats) as site premises on the register and yet the EA don’t check. The register can’t hold site information correctly , hence the need for collectors to be registered on a National Metal Agency database that can monitor their movements.

The National Metal Agency is a Data Intelligence Agency. At the moment collectors are asked for a £25 criminal disclosure by the councils, which is pointless. Collectors are given licences even if they have car theft, murder, or criminal damage. They are only refused a licence if they have harmed the environment. They can kill an old lady but not a newt. The National Metal Agency does  not require a costly and pointless criminal check.

The National Metal Agency is a Data Intelligence Agency. At the moment councils “invent” a licence number, It means nothing. The Registration of collectors with the NMA will be issued a registration number that has hidden details within it. Those details can be accessed by police forces.

The National Metal Agency is a Data Intelligence Agency. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 asks all sites to collect specific details to comply with the Act. The VRA should be aware that many motor salvage operators do not collect this information and are breaking the law- a level 5 unlimited fine. Many councils have no idea what is written in the records they are suppose to check as each business records its data differently. However, we agree, much of the compulsory data is pointless as it does not aid policing of the Act. [ Who cares what the condition of scrap metal comes in? Shiny or rusty?] The NMA will be asking ALL sites to start collecting collectors licensing and registration details. It’s not the law yet, but it will aid in policing the criminals.   

The National Metal Agency is a Data Intelligence Agency. At the moment the Act relies on councils to make up their own licensing charges for the same product. With councils like Bathnes charging £601 for a licence and a further £3400 for a “maintenance fee” for sites and collectors, the Scrap Metal Dealers Association forced councils across the country to give back nearly quarter of a million pounds to sites and collectors in 2019. EU directives state Local Authorities can not make a profit out of licensing. Many do; like Birmingham that claim they charge for 4 site visits x 2 officers x 88 sites. We all know that doesn’t happen.

 The NMA will charge a fixed registration fee for collectors that do not collect by means of door to door £120 a year.

We understand that the BMRA and VRA have puppeteers. The puppeteers are probably worried they will lose their contracts, and so they should be. The Scrap Metal Dealers Association does not. We provide protection, education, guidance and support. Our membership received practical advice and help with legal matters, paperwork, and compliance. We have supported our members in court since 2012 and won every case. We have educated councils licensing professionals and listened to their concerns. We have approach the Home Office and been assure the law is not flawed. We encourage all collectors to follow the word of the law.