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Ahead of the Transport Select Committee hearing on the impact of the rise in copper theft tomorrow (Tuesday 8th November) and following new figures showing worsening train punctuality, Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister, has revealed new figures on the consequences of copper theft on rail delays.
A parliamentary answer to Shadow Transport Minister John Woodcock MP reveals that the number of hours of delays to passengers caused by metal theft on Britain's railways is on course to be as high as 7,000 hours in 2011/12, if the trend from April to August this year continues. That would be 13.8% per cent higher than 2010/11 figure of 6,088 hours of delay and represent a rise of almost 50% since 2008.
Network Tail today issued figures showing a decline in train punctuality from 92.8% to 91.5% for the same period last year. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has previously warned that cable theft has delayed passengers by 365,000 minutes over the course of the last year before cancellations are taken into account.

John Woodcock MP, Labour's Shadow Transport Minister, said:
“This government is out of touch with rail passengers and commuters who are already suffering eye watering hikes in their fares caused by Tory cuts and are now facing longer delays caused by Tory inaction on metal theft.
“It is time Ministers took this issue seriously and addressed the root cause by making the sale of stolen metal much harder. They should now listen to Labour’s call for a tougher licensing regime for scrap metal dealers, a requirement for people selling scrap metal to prove their identity and more powers for the police to investigate metal thefts.”
Last week, Labour’s Shadow Home Office team called for tougher police and licensing powers to curb the blight of metal theft across the country, including:

  •  Licensing scrap metal dealers, rather than current registration with Local Authority.
  •  Look into possibility and impact of banning cash transactions within the trade.
  •  Strengthen police powers to close rogue traders down.
  •  Anyone selling scrap to provide verifiable proof of identity, recorded at point of sale.

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