THE Scrap Metal Dealers
Bill, which seeks to reduce the high rates of metal theft from
churches and memorials, was approved by the House of Lords on
Tuesday of last week. It will now go forward for Royal Assent.
The Bill was introduced
by the Conservative MP Richard Ottaway as a Private Member's Bill
last year (
News, 1 June), and was introduced into the House of Lords by
Baroness Browning. Its provisions include the licensing of all
scrap-metal dealers, and obliging those selling metal to provide
identification at the point of sale.
Anne Sloman, who chairs
the Church of England's Cathedral and Church Buildings Council,
said: "This has been a long battle. We are absolutely delighted
that this two-year campaign, led by the C of E's Cathedrals and
Church Buildings Council, will now become law. We are thankful that
the deleterious and misery-making unregulated trade in scrap metal
might now be brought to an end through proper regulation."
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, was among
bishops who lobbied MPs to vote for the Bill when it reached its
Third Reading in the House of Commons last year (
News, 2 November). He spoke of the "devastating impact" of
metal theft on England's churches. Church House has said that
criminal damage amounting to £27 million has been inflicted on
churches in England since 2007.