Scrap Metal campaign reaches Parliament
Graham Allen, MP for Nottingham North, has been campaigning on the theft of scrap metal for months and next week will sit on the opening sessions of the Parliamentary Scrap Metal Dealers Bill.
Parliament has finally woken up to this issue and to highlight the start of the Bill Graham -on Friday 7th September –will visit Parish Church St Martin of Tours in Bilborough following the devastating theft of lead from their roof. This church has been lucky enough to receive considerable funding from the English Heritage Lottery Fund for its repairs. However the majority of scrap metal theft victims have to cover these costs privately, which Graham says is “both unfair and unaffordable”.
“Scrap Metal thieves have been allowed to get away with their crimes for too long. This bill will be a great start to reduce the extraordinary numbers of scrap metal theft, and bring in long awaited, much-needed regulation to the scrap metal industry.” Graham says “I hope that by the time this bill comes out of committee, there will be wide cross party support that allows its smooth passage into becoming a law”.
Scrap Metal theft has been a destructive, widespread problem in Nottingham North and around the country, and Graham says “I welcome the current bill. Our role as the bill enters its committee stage will be to ensure that the bill can effectively reduce the huge rates of scrap metal theft facing Britain today.”
The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill, a private members bill proposed by Richard Ottaway, MP for Croydon South, will replace the existing legislation over Scrap Metal, the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, which Graham has described as “woefully insufficient to regulate this crime”.
Scrap metal theft brings “misery to households and communities in Nottingham”. On a national level it causes “so much distress and expensive damage”. Graham says “When so many families in Nottingham and around the country are suffering from the economic crisis, paying for the replacement of stolen scrap metal, although essential, is infuriating. This bill should deter scrap metal thieves, which will allow the Government to refocus its priorities to the real issues that matter”.
Operation Tornado, a pilot scheme tested in Durham and Cleveland, produced a significant reduction of scrap metal theft after sellers were required to provide photographic proof of identification to dealers. After its positive results, Graham said “I was delighted to see this approach adopted in Nottinghamshire and hope that this bill will continue the successes of this scheme”.
Often in the case of Scrap Metal theft, there is a enormous discrepancy between the small prices these thieves are paid and the financial and emotional cost the victims are shouldered with. Graham said in Parliament at the second reading of the Bill: “When people melt down the memorial to two children who were killed by the IRA in Warrington or personal emblems and memorials to those who have passed away, often for the sake of £10-worth of scrap, the hurt and damage done massively outweigh any profit to the criminal.”
Graham Allen sat on the committee for the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill and was pleased to see it come out of committee in record time. Graham was extremely pleased to see the wide range of cross party support for the Bill, and hopes to assist further in its smooth transition into becoming a law.