European coalition calls for crackdown on cross-border metal theft

The coalition of European organisations describes metal theft from energy infrastructure as ‘organised cross-border crime’

In Europe, a coalition of eleven associations and government agencies spanning energy, telecommunications and transport have joined forces to combat metal theft.

The bodies, including EDSO for Smart Grids, have described metal theft as a “phenomenon with a clear European cross-border dimension”.

The joint coalition said metal theft happens every day across Europe and is a form of organised cross-border crime, and “as such represents a threat to the internal security and economies of EU Member States”.

In a statement released yesterday, the coalition said it plans to urge EU policy makers to tackle metal theft through legislative action, coordinated action and data collection.

Protection of energy assets

Although some EU Member States have measures in place to prevent or sanction metal theft, such as stricter rules for buying/selling ‘sensitive’ items (such as manhole covers, storm drains, electricity poles or transmission towers) or legislation setting a limit for or even prohibiting cash payment for scrap metals and waste, in particular copper.

The coalition however said to ensure that minimum standards are respected across Europe, the European Commission must ensure that Directive 2008/98/EC on waste is properly implemented by Member States.

Regarding data collection, the coalition gives the example of the Pol-PRIMETT I & II project, an EU co-funded project tackling metal theft via a transnational public-private sector partnership.

A common European data collection could enable the comparison of trends in metal theft crime at the EU level. Such data would highlight the actual extent of metal theft in each Member State, the coalition said in a statement.

Alongside EDSO for Smart Grids, another member of the coalition is CEDEC, which represents 1,500 local and regional energy companies from ten European countries.