MPs call for an end to “metal laundering”

Wednesday 7 December 2011

A cross-Party group of MPs and Peers this morning called for immediate reform of the law governing the scrap metal industry.

The group of Parliamentarians have come together to form an All-Party Parliamentary Group to Combat Metal Theft. The purpose of the group is to focus on ways to stop the scourge of theft of metal from the UK’s critical national infrastructure. The group identified the illegal trade in metal by parts of the metal recycling industry as the key cause of metal theft.

The Joint-Chair of the new group, Chris Kelly MP said:

“We need to end what is nothing less than metal laundering. It is a crime that is having an impact across society and the measures introduced need to address the whole chain handling scrap metal.”

This was backed up by representatives from across the metal recycling industry who were present at this morning’s inaugural meeting. Organisations such as SITA, Veolia and Alchemy Metals all agreed that stolen metal is infecting their industry by allowing it to enter the chain through disreputable dealers.

Support was unanimous for changes to the law that have been proposed in a Bill by Graham Jones MP. He said:

“Parliament needs to address this issue with strong action. The options are either to be tough and robust in our approach or to merely tweak out of date legislation.”

The new group is being supported by Energy Networks Association. Spokesman Tony Glover said:

“As the rest of Europe introduces legislation to tackle metal theft, the UK is in danger of being behind the curve. Every day that we delay, we increase the chance that an innocent person will be killed as a result of damage to our infrastructure.”


Notes to editor

ENA hosted a Parliamentary Summit on 22 June 2011 where the then Crime Prevention Minister Baroness Browning said, “The Government takes this issue very seriously…good progress is being made on a range of actions from this plan including looking at how we can develop metal alternatives and more coordinated law enforcement approaches, as well as exploring possible options for a cashless system for scrap metal dealers.”

ENA is working with the Government as part of the cross-departmental Ministerial Group including addressing its second meeting in November and participated in the Deputy Mayor of London’s round table on tackling metal theft last week (29 November 2011).

Details of an e-petition in support of the Metal Theft (Prevention) Bill can be found here.

Details of the Bill are available here.

The group will be Co-Chaired by Chris Kelly MP and Graham Jones MP. The Vice-Chairs are Mark Garnier MP, Robin Walker MP, Stewart Jackson MP, Margot James MP and from the House of Lords, Lord Faulkner.

ENA represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.

For further information please contact:

Tim Field, Press and Public Affairs Executive
Energy Networks Association
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 706 5157
M: +44 (0)7725 372 758
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