AN 100-year-old law must be repealed before new regulations governing the scrap metal industry can be enacted, Housing and Environment Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said yesterday.
He said Cabinet would be approached in three weeks' time to consider the new policy being suggested.
The Scrap Iron Dealers Association of Trinidad and Tobago had appealed for the industry to be regularised, following the weekend incident at Point Fortin where thieves stole a portion of a bridge connecting the Dunlop Roundabout to Cap-de-Ville.
The road had to be closed while the structural integrity of the bridge was checked. The bridge has since reopened.
Yesterday, the Water and Sewerage Authority disclosed that four men were arrested and charged with stealing scrap metal from a water tanker at Toco on March 31.
Moonilal said the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan were addressing the issue.
"On the EMA side we are trying to put regulations in place for persons who are desirous of entering that scrap metal sub sector because of the implications for the environment, so they will require some sort of environmental clearance."
He said: "When they go to the Magistrates' Court for the licence (the court) will require some type of legal instrument from the EMA upon which to grant the permission to run a scrap yard."
He said he had already received the legal instruments from the EMA and was reviewing it before approaching Cabinet.
Moonilal said an 100-year-old ordinance controls the sale and trade of metal, and this has to be repealed.
He said the scrap iron dealers association, "has already consented that the sector requires regulation. And they have indicated that they have no difficulty with the EMA requirements to govern the sector and with the repealing of the archaic law".