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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 2 December 2013

 

Report of the Leader

 

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To approve licence fees and delegations under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

Recommendations

1.         THAT The Director of Development Services and Head of Public Protection are given the delegated authority to authorise relevant competent officers to implement the relevant powers within the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

2.         In cases where authorised officers consider refusal, revocation or variation of a licence and where representations are to be made they are referred to the Licensing Committee for decision and the terms of reference of the Licensing Committee are amended accordingly.

3.         THAT The fees set for 2013/14 are as included in paragraph 22

4.         THAT the report be referred to Council requesting that the constitution be amended in line with recommendations 1 and 2.

5.         That the report be referred to Licensing Committee for information.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that delegated authorities are in place for the grant, renewal and variation of the licences.

2.         To ensure any representations are considered at an appropriate level.

3.         To ensure reasonable fees are set.

4.         To enable appropriate delegated authorities to be put in place through the Council’s Constitution.

5.         To apprise the members of the Licensing Committee on the commencement of the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

 

Background

2.         The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 replaces the previous registration system for scrap metal dealers created by the 1964 Scrap Metal Dealers Act.  In its place it creates a new licensing regime.  The new licensing arrangements will be run and administered by local authorities.

3.         Every scrap metal dealer will be required to have a licence, and operating without one will be a criminal offence.  Under the new legislation the definition of scrap metal dealers is extended so it now includes motor salvage operators, and the provisions in the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 under which they operated ended when the new Act came into effect on the 1st October 2013.

4.         Whereas under the 1964 Act Councils have to register anyone who notifies them that they are operating as a scrap metal dealer, Councils will be able to refuse to grant a licence where the applicant is judged not to be a suitable person to operate as a scrap metal dealer.  This ability to regulate who is, and who is not, a scrap metal dealer is designed to improve the operating standards of those dealers who do not operate to the same standards as the majority of reputable dealers.  The transition from the requirement on dealers to register to hold a licence provides an opportunity to ensure that those dealers who have been operating illegally are no longer able to do so.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         In order for anyone to carry on in business as a scrap metal dealer they have to have a licence.  The licence will run for a period of three years.

6.         If convicted of trading without a licence the offender can be fined.  At present, the fine will be at Level 5 on the standard scale.  However, when the amendments to fine levels included in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 come into effect the fine that could be imposed will be unlimited.

7.         There are two types of licences specified in the Act:

Site Licence

All the sites where a licensee carries on business as a scrap metal dealer have to be identified, and a site manager has to be named for each site.  This licence allows the licensee to transport scrap metal to and from those sites from any local authority area.

Collector’s Licence

This allows the licensee to operate as a collector in the area of the issuing local authority. It does not allow the collector to operate in any other local authority area, so a separate licence has to be obtained from each Council the collector wishes to operate in.  The licence also does not authorise the licensee to operate a site.  To do so they will need a site licence from the local authority.

8.         It should be noted that a dealer can only hold one type of licence in any one local authority area.  That dealer has to decide whether he or she is going to have a site or a collector's licence in any one area.  The local authority cannot issue both a site and collector’s licence.

9.         Scrap metal dealers who are not registered under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 or the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 can apply for a scrap metal dealer's licence from 1 October 2013 but must wait for a licence to be issued before they can trade legally.

10.      The offence of buying scrap metal for cash will come into force on 1st December 2013.

11.      Local authority officers and police officers will have the right to enter and inspect from 1 October 2013.

12.      The 2013 Act defines a scrap metal dealer, a site, a collector and scrap metal.  The definition of scrap metal dealer is deliberately quite widely drawn, and there are no further details provided in the Act or the explanatory notes.  Generally where the sale of the metal is incidental to the main type of work or business undertaken then a licence will not be needed.

13.      The Home Office’s view is that road side waste collections that pick up metal items disposed by households and which are to be recycled, along with municipal waste sites, are not caught by these provisions.

14.      Dealers under the legislation are divided into two categories based on the two different types of licence: those operating from fixed sites; and those who are mobile collectors.  A dealer also includes someone carrying on business as a motor salvage operator.

15.      Scrap metal itself includes any discarded metal or metallic material or products which are made of, or contain, metal and is regarded as having reached the end of its useful life.  This includes platinum and a range of other rare metals now being used in catalytic converters, but does not include gold or silver. Jewellers or businesses trading in second hand gold and silver jewellery or products are not therefore caught by this definition.

16.      Schedule 1 of the Act sets out what information must accompany an application for a scrap metal dealer's licence.

17.      Any application must be accompanied by a fee.  The fee is to be set locally by each local authority on a cost recovery basis. Local authorities must have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State.  Having regard to the guidance issued it is proposed that the fees this authority should charge are:

 

New

Renewal

Variations

Site Licence

£277

£261

£48

Collectors Licence

£228

£201

£48

 

18.      The fees have been calculated by estimating the time taken to carry out the functions associated with the new licensing regime (but not including any element of enforcement of the same function) and multiplying it by the unit costs provided by accountancy of the officer(s) carrying out the function.  The fees will need to be reviewed every year to ensure they are calculated in accordance with guidance.

19.      Appropriate competent officers will now need to be authorised to enforce the new procedure in accordance with the Council's statutory obligation.

20.      The terms of reference of the Licensing Committee should also be amended to consider appeals, revocations or variations.

21.      Failure to introduce the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 would prevent operators carrying on business as scrap metal dealers in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

22.      The licensing service is required to be self financing within the limitation of statute.  It is essential that the new fees are set at a level which fully funds the costs of the service in so far as permissible by the statute.  This is an additional burden for the Authority to enforce i.e. estimated that 0.25 FTE staff resources would be required to effectively implement the new Act, and this is a matter that will be addressed at Operational level within the service area.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

23.      None directly applicable to this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

24.      This is an Executive function of the Council which requires the Terms of Reference of the Licensing Committee to be amended accordingly by Council to update the Constitution and Officers' delegations

Crime and Disorder Implications

25.      It is a Criminal Offence to carry on business as a scrap metal dealer without the benefit of a licence.  This new Act is intended to prevent criminal behaviour such as metal theft. 

26.      Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Council has statutory duty to consider crime and disorder implications whilst regulating licensable activities.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

27.      None applicable to this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

28.      To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meet legislative requirements.

Policy Framework and Budget

29.      This is a matter for Executive decision. 

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

30.      The new Act applies to the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan and is not ward specific.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

31.      Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

Scrap Metal Fees Spreadsheet

 

 

Contact Officer

Christina Roberts-Kinsey – Principal Trading Standards Officer – Tel. 01446 709344

 

Officers Consulted

Debbie Marles – Legal

Mandy Ewington – Licensing

Mike Bumford - Finance

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services

 

 

 

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