Scrap metal dealers in Leeds are demanding clarity over a new licence after many claimed they were being forced out of business by confusing and hastily imposed new rules.
Leeds City Council has introduced a three-year site licence costing £494, and a collector’s licence costing £159.
The city previously had 124 registered scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators.
Dealers who are already registered have been given a fortnight to apply under the new regime. That deadline expires tomorrow, Enforcement of the new rules comes into effect on December 1.
However the YEP has been contacted by several traders who say when they turned up at the council’s licencing deaprtment to apply for the licence, they were told they cannot work again until December 1.
Scrap dealer Ronald Ineson, from Belle Isle, said he already holds a trade waste licence, so could not understand why he had been told he had to stop trading. “They have just stopped my business dead,” he said. Another dealer, Dale Harrison, said the legislation seemed to have been rushed through, and when he went to apply, “some of the people in the council hadn’t even heard of it”. Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, chair of Leeds City Council’s licensing committee, said the short timescale for new applications was set by the Government, however existing scrap metal dealers who make their application by tomorrow WILL be able to continue trading until the authority determines their licence “however long that takes”.
“The only businesses that would have to cease trading are those that were not already registered,” she said.
It is not correct to say anyone would have to cease trading for six weeks, we aim to complete the application paperwork as quickly as possible, this usually takes two to three weeks.”
She said the authority is “sympathetic to the situation” but also “supportive of this new legislation as it will help reduce the number of metal thefts throughout the city.”
The new policy allows the council to refuse licence applications made by what it considers “unsuitable persons”. Anyone caught trading metal without a licence would be committing a criminal offence and could face large fines.