Mr Michael Oppenheimer president of the British Metals Recycling Association said that Potential difficulties faced by the construction and automotive sectors next year as a result of cuts in both public and consumer spending will make 2011 an uncertain year for the UK metals recycling sector.
He claimed that environmental policy at a European level could increase the sector's regulatory burden. Given the mixed medium term economic outlook, one wonders about the longer term availability of ferrous scrap in the UK?
Mr Oppenheimer who was elected as president in June said that 2010 had been a difficult but nonetheless successful" year for the metals recycling industry. But looking forward to 2011 we can safely predict that things will be uncertain.
He explained that in two sectors crucial to the success of our metals recycling industry, construction and car production there have been clear signs of recovery throughout 2010. However, draconian cuts in public capital budgets over the next three years will seriously impact on construction and there are concerns that the fear of future job losses, if not the reality will inhibit consumer spending and hinder further automotive sector recovery.
Mr Oppenheimer highlighted the short term and uncertain markets for steel in 2010 and noted that a shortage of scrap had underpinned prices in many ferrous markets. And, he asked given the mixed medium term economic outlook, one wonders about the longer term availability of ferrous scrap in the UK?"
Mr Oppenheimer said that the sheer plethora of rules relating to metals recycling continued to be a problem, particularly for smaller sites. However opportunities had been created for achieving a major reduction in this burden by the new coalition government coming to power. This year our Westminster representational work has been dominated by our desire to influence a new and very different government.
He said that this has meant that our established points of influence Backbenchers, Select Committees and Special Advisors and last but not least, Ministers, have changed, with most ministers and staff in government for the first time trying to find a way of working.
Mr Oppenheimer raised concerns over how the new government would approach European issues and in particular, a continuing growth in the environmental policy agenda which he said was being considered by the European Parliament, Commission and some Member States.
He warned that unless checked, this agenda will grow unheeded and regulation will follow and I could see a time when freedom of trade outside the EU could be threatened where a secondary metal was designated as a scarce or strategic resource.