Scrapco Metal Recycling Ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Scrapco Metal Recycling Ltd's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Scrapco Metal Recycling Ltd is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Scrapco head office in Erith
Scrapco’s primary focus is
scrap metal recycling
Scrapco Metal Recycling Ltd was founded in 2007 by
Karen Frost and her partner Ricky Hunn. From a standing
start with a handful of staff at one unit in Erith, Kent,
they now employ 70 people across three different locations.
The company is grounded in family values, with Ricky’s four
sons now working in various managerial positions within the
business. Their primary focus is scrap metal recycling, although,
this year, they have extended their site in Brenchley, and are
now expanding into waste transfer. Their three locations are
the original unit they started from in Erith, with a second
facility in Red Lodge, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and a
third in Brenchley, near Tonbridge, Kent. Later this year, they
will be opening a fourth site just a mile away from theirthird.
Expanding and growing
We are the 83rd largest company in the UK market for scrap recycling, and our
value has risen since 2007 to reflect this. The industry sees highs and lows, and
I credit Ricky with being the driving force that has steered the company through
sometimes-unsteady terrain. He is an ambitious personality, and recognises
that standing still is tantamount to going backwards. As managing director, he
deals with development and operations, while I am the director responsible for
compliance, finance and all office-based activity.
»Founded: Karen Frost and
Ricky Hunn
»Established in 2007
»Based in Erith, Kent
»Services: Scrap metal recycling
and waste transfer
»No. of employees: 70
»Sites in Erith, Red Lodge and
»83rd largest UK company in
their market
Scrapco Metal
Recycling Ltd
Our investment and success has
seen us able to expand and begin
diversifying the business, which is best
demonstrated in the new arm of the
company covering waste transfer.
While we originally anticipated 60 to
80 units a week at this new facility, we
have already reached well over 100.
We are additionally opening another
metal recycling facility nearby for
vehicles. This will necessitate further
reinvestment with regards to staffing,
training and permit acquisition.
Compliance and staff
Breaching any legislation results in
a plethora of issues and potential
fines, so striving to ensure we remain
compliant at all times is an absolute
must. It’s a huge part of what we do,
and a major concern for anyone in our
Everyone at Scrapco has a part to
play, and our people really are our
greatest asset. We recognise this, and
treat everyone involved equally and
fairly. We try to perpetuate a great
atmosphere, and have seen high rates
of staff retention. Elaborate policies and
procedures are all well and good, but
making sure that everything translates
on the ground, particularly when the
majority of operational staff may not
be familiar with the complex legislative
landscape, is an absolutepriority.
A plethora of issues
Prescribing anything in legislation does
not in and of itself solve anything, and,
indeed, can sometimes exacerbate
A case in point is fly-tipping. Since
charging was introduced, the increase
in tipping has been exponential; in
May 2018, the Chartered Institution of
Wastes Management reported that the
cost to taxpayers rose to £57 million
in 2017. We have to wonder whether
or not the revenue acquired from
charging reaches anywhere near that
amount, and just how much tipping is
actually cleared. Would it not be better
if everyone could dispose of their
waste free of charge? It would then,
at least, be located and treated in the
proper environment, and potentially be
far more equitable for all.
Another major issue is that
of conflicting permissions. An
environmental permit will authorise
a certain height and weight for
Dyke last cleared in
Everyone at
Scrapco has a
part to play,
and our people
really are our
greatest asset
Flooding caused by
Dyke today
Highlighting best practice
storage, while planning permission
will then cut that down. Why do
both regulate the same thing with
a different outcome, and why don’t
these two bodies communicate so
that contradictory decisions are not
made? Worse still is when we see
conflicts arise for the same regulatory
body. An environmental permit will
allow storage of waste for up to three
years, whereas the accompanying
fire prevention plan limits storage to
With a single point where all data
about an operator could be located,
regulatory bodies would have access
to the information they need to make
cohesive decisions within their remit.
It would also benefit the operator by
having all their documentation in one
place; endless and lengthy process
manuals are by no means easy bases
on which to train an entire body of
staff, irrespective of how academically
gifted they may be.
There is no “one size fits all” solution
in our industry. Fire prevention plans,
now required to accompany permits,
require separation distances of six
metres between stockpiles of materials.
This is unachievable for a smaller
operator with a property of anything
less than an acre. We already have a
specialised system for permitting, so
why not treat each case on merit, and
incorporate fire prevention planning
within the permit itself?
Why aren’t things getting
I am also the elected chairman of an
industrial estate in Erith. In this area,
there are serious concerns with regards
to environmental sustainability. These
are mainly rooted in the fact that the
dyke system adjacent to the industrial
estate is no longer being dredged.
The Team 2100 project has been
granted a budget of over £800,000
to conduct a further survey into the
stability of the Thames’ south bank
for the next century. The restoration
of dredging in our area would cost
a fraction of that, and would have
tangible benefit now, rather than
being a speculative surveillance project
attaining no physical results. I want to
know who is making these decisions,
and why they are making them.
Local restoration is essential. As
an operator, we can be penalised
for leaving a single battery out of
place within the curtilage of a fully
permitted site, so why, then, can
the Environment Agency not be
held accountable for what must be
their own responsibility? Budgetary
constraints will not be considered
when an operator is required to take
any action to remain compliant with
legislation or new developments.
The same principle should be
applied to governing bodies. Going
forwards, I really do hope that we see
There is no
‘one size fits
all’ solution in
our industry
New waste transfer
facility in Brenchley

This article was sponsored by Scrapco Metal Recycling Ltd. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister