LGA: Metal thieves leaving 'blackhole' in town hall budgets
Metal thieves are costing local authorities millions of pounds every year, according to a new survey by the Local Government Association (LGA).
The survey of 157 councils across England and Wales found that the cost of metal theft has risen by an estimated 26% in a single year – up to £4.6m in 2012/11. The LGA highlight this is the equivalent of keeping 20 libraries open or employing 260 care workers to look after the elderly.
The LGA warns this financial burden is likely to get worse unless the Government passes new legislation to better regulate the scrap metal industry.
Cllr Mehboob Khan, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘Government missed an opportunity by not including a change in legislation in the recent Queen's Speech. Local authorities are firmly behind Richard Ottaway’s decision to take a Private Member’s Bill through Parliament to introduce a tougher licensing regime for scrap metal dealers. It is vital that local authorities get stronger powers to make it more difficult for thieves to dispose of stolen metal.
‘Councils want to see an annually-renewable licence for scrap metal dealers, which could be reviewed at the instigation of the police or licensing authority and, if necessary, revoked. This would make it much less likely that stolen metal will find its ways into scrapyards.'
The LGA is calling for an overhaul of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, which requires councils to register dealers without the ability to refuse the application.
If councils used composite manhole covers instead of metal ones, they could reduce some of their costs, reduce metal thefts and reduce the number of motorcycle accidents. Have a look at the 'Get a Grip' campaign. http://www.getagripuk.orgKaren Lawrinson, Office Manager to Yasmin Qureshi MP., Added: Tuesday, 19 June 2012 09:11 AM
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