Network Rail, ATOC and the Rail Freight group are among a group of companies and industries delighted by the successful third reading of MP Richard Ottaway’s Private Members Bill. The new Scrap Metal Dealers Bill will now go to the House of Lords to help eradicate the effects of metal theft crimes on Britain’s railways.
The theft of metal is a growing problem in the UK affecting many industry sectors, not just the railway. The current cost to the UK economy is estimated at hundreds of millions of pounds a year and the crime is directly fuelled by the increase in the price of metals, particularly copper and lead.
MPs with concerns on the bill reached a compromise with its supporters to review the bill in three years time, with a sunset clause for five years. This gives time to evaluate the bill in action and revise it if necessary.
Neil Henry, head of operations and performance at Network Rail, said: “These crimes continue to cause significant disruption and cost to rail passengers and essential freight services. Today is a significant and important step towards removing the distress and inconvenience caused to millions of people by metal thieves.”
“We are delighted that the bill has passed its third reading and would like to thank Richard Ottaway MP and all the supporters of the bill. We would also like to acknowledge and welcome the compromise reached with Philip Davies MP over his concerns. We believe we can demonstrate that the bill works in the coming years. Meanwhile, we will continue to work with British Transport Police and invest in methods to better protect the rail network.”
Maggie Simpson, executive director at the Rail Freight Group, added: “Metal theft continues to be a problem for rail freight customers, and we are very pleased that these new powers will enable more to be done to reduce the disruption and cost to business from this crime.”