COMMUNITY leaders in Burton and South Derbyshire have welcomed the Governments decision to regulate the sale of scrap metal.
The Scrap Metal Dealer’s Act, which is expected to come into force on October 1, will see local authorities such as East Staffordshire Borough Council and South Derbyshire District Council regulate the trade in scrap metal.
The act will give local authorities the power to refuse to grant a licence and revoke licences if the dealer is considered unsuitable as well as granting new powers for inspections and create new criminal offences for prosecution.
South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler (pictured right) said the day the act comes into force will be a ‘momentous day for curbing metal theft’.
She said: “There will be more red-tape for firms but there has been huge amounts of devastation, pain and anguish that people have had to put up with.
“The consequences of metal theft have been dire but this is an excellent opportunity for people who abide by the rules to display their licence and it will be really obvious that people will be dealing with a licensed person or someone working illegally.”
Staffordshire County Councillor Conor Wileman (pictured left), who represents Burton’s Tower ward, has previously called for tighter controls on the trade after a rise in complaints about dealers in Burton.
Now, he told the Mail: “I welcome the act and think it will be a good thing.
“People want to feel safe in their own homes but if there are people they have not seen before they could think they might be causing a problem.
“I think some people see scrap metal dealers as a service that people provide while other people feel vulnerable.
“But if the law strikes a balance and gives added regulation then that can only be a good thing because it means the service is able to continue.”
It is hoped the act will halt the rise in metal thefts which are thought to cost the UK economy between £220 million and £777 million a year, according to report which will go before the borough council’s licensing committee next week.