Report on the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill
Session: Session currently unavailable
Date: 15 February 2016
Reference: NIA 307/11-16
Mandate Number: 2015/16
Report on Scrap Metal Dealers Bill.pdf (302.12 kb)
- This report sets out the Committee for the Environment’s Committee Stage of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill.
- The Bill contains 21 clauses and 2 schedules. The principal objectives of the Bill are to combat the trade of illegally obtained metal in Northern Ireland; reduce the impact on victims of scrap metal crime; and safeguard expensive resources for individuals and organisations.
- The Bill seeks to do this by licensing the carrying on of a scrap metal dealing business and certain aspects of the sale and purchase of metal in Northern Ireland.
- The Committee sought a balanced range of views as part of their deliberations of the Bill. It requested evidence from a number of interested organisations, from the Department of the Environment (the Department), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and from the Sponsor of the Bill, Mr Roy Beggs MLA (the Sponsor).
- The majority of responses supported efforts to tackle metal theft; however there was differing views on the provisions of the Bill. Some key issues were raised as follows:
- Whether there is a need for primary legislation, given recent changes to the Waste Management Licensing Regulations, which seek to tighten regulation for waste operators, including scrap metal dealers;
- Whether the Department is the most appropriate body to issue licences, given that the function of Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is to tackle environmental crime.
- Inconsistencies between Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland (NI) legislation, and concerns that this might harm both employment and economic growth in the Northern Ireland recycling industry, without similar regulations being made in ROI;
- Whether the existing voluntary Code of Conduct could be strengthened and form the basis of a legislative framework;
- Concerns regarding the impact of a cashless system or a system allowing a de minimus for cash transactions, and the enforcement of such; and
- Concerns regarding unintended consequences of who might be captured by the provisions of the Bill, outside of scrap metal dealers.
- Following discussions with the Sponsor of the Bill, the Department has proposed sixty-nine amendments to the Bill. These impact on every clause and schedule, with the exception of Clause 21: Short title.
- The Committee does not have sufficient time to properly scrutinise the proposed amendments and the impact that these amendments may have on the scrap metal industry.
- The Committee indicated it was not content to form a view on Clauses 1 to 20 and Schedules 1 and 2, as the Committee is unable to given proper consideration and scrutiny of the complex issues raised at Committee Stage within the time remaining, including that it does not have a full understanding of the impact that the Bill will have on the scrap metal industry.