Metals sector concern over merchant challenges

Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling has issued an updated summary on the scrap metal recycling industry during the coronavirus crisis around the world and in the UK. 

As part of the update, the BIR says it has received concerns from the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), saying police officers have been wrongly challenging metal merchants despite securing confirmation that they would be included as key workers. 

BMRA has advocated the reopening of HWRCs

The summary said the BMRA wrote to the Chief Constables of the 43 police forces in the UK, urging them to advise officers of the classification of metal recyclers as key workers. The BIR says it is now hearing of fewer interruptions.  


The summary also says that the BMRA have advocated the reopening of HWRCs in order to prevent increased dumping of large domestic applicants and avoid fire risk posed to metal recyclers. 

This comes after  details 17 page guidance to councils surround HWRCs was issued today (see story).

The BIR update says that local authorities are still resisting DEFRAs instruction for reopening HWRCs on the grounds of staff shortages and lack of protective equipment.  


The update explained that the BMRA is continuing to seek concessions and assistance from the government and regulators wherever possible, despite the Environment Agency acknowledging that many companies will be suffering staff shortages and therefore unable to comply with environmental obligations.  

The BMRA is also considering whether it might seek concessions or extensions on license fees. 

This follows the Environment Agency imposing license fees on the justification that it relies on charge income to carry out its work.  

The summary, which can be seen in full here, also covers scrap metal updates other countries suffering disruptions in trade during the coronavirus lockdowns.  

About half of all metal recyclers closed after the lockdown was implements with a small proportion of re-openings and managing to export to China.  


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