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Scrap metal dealer licences

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 came into force on 1 October 2013. The Act repeals the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and consolidates scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators under one licensing regime.

The Act defines a scrap metal dealer as a person who is for the time being carrying on business as a scrap metal dealer, whether authorised by a licence.

It further states that scrap metal includes:

  • Any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic material
  • Any product, article or assembly which is made from or contains metal and is broken, worn out or regarded by its last holder as having reached the end of its useful life

The following is not considered to be scrap metal:

  • Gold
  • Silver 
  • Any alloy of which 2% or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver

Section 1 of the Act requires that a scrap metal dealer obtains a licence in order to carry on business as a scrap metal dealer. It will be an offence to carry on a business as a scrap metal dealer in breach of the requirement to hold a licence. This offence is punishable on summary conviction with a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

Types of licence

There are 2 types of licence, one for a site and the other for a mobile collector (for those carrying on business otherwise than at a site).

A site licence lets you buy and sell scrap metal from a fixed location within the council area. Each site will have a nominated Site Manager included on the Licence.

All the sites where a licensee carries on business as a scrap metal dealer have to be identified, and a site manager has to be named for each site. This licence allows the licensee to transport scrap metal to and from those sites from any local authority area.

A collector’s licence allows you to travel within the council area to collect scrap metal. You may not take this metal back to a site that you run within the council area in order to sell it.

This allows the licensee to operate as a collector in the area of the issuing local authority. It does not allow the collector to operate in any other local authority area, so a separate licence has to be obtained from each council the collector wishes to operate in. The licence does not authorise the licensee to operate a site; to do so they will need a site licence from the relevant local authority.

A dealer can only hold one type of licence in any one local authority area. You have to decide whether they are going to have a site or a mobile licence in any one area. You cannot hold both a site and mobile collector’s licence from the same council.

Cash payments

The ban on paying cash for scrap metal will come into force on 1 October 2013.

[PDF, 0.1MB]


The Application for a Scrap Metal Licence 2013 Act [DOCX, 38Kb] can be downloaded.

For your application to be considered valid the following points must be applied;

  • The application must be fully completed. Where a question does not apply it must be marked as ‘not applicable’
  • A Basic DBS certificate, which is less than 3 months old, must be submitted with the application.
  • A tax check code
  • An original Waste Carriers Licence must be submitted with the application (if applicable).

Your application must be accompanied by a relevant fee (accurate up to 1 April 2024):

  • Site licence application: £260
  • Mobile licence application: £210

If you do not satisfy any of these conditions your application will be returned.

Consideration of your application

We will only issue a licence once we are satisfied that you are a suitable person to carry on business as a scrap metal dealer.

In the case of a partnership this means assessing the suitability of each of the partners in the partnership, while in the case of a company it means assessing the suitability of any directors, company secretaries or shadow directors.

You will be required to provide a Basic Disclosure certificate with the application form and tax check code for each of the above as is relevant to their circumstances (as well as for each of the proposed Site Managers). This is to enable us to determine whether any person(s) proposed have a relevant conviction (details of which will be released in due course by the Home Office). Refusing to provide a Basic Disclosure certificate would be grounds under paragraph 4(2) of Schedule 1 of the 2013 Act for the local authority to decline to proceed with the application.

Apply for a disclosure certificate

In assessing an applicant’s suitability we can consider any information it considers relevant.

Applicants’ behaviour in the operation of their business, such as the fact they have been operating for a considerable period without planning permission for their site, or that they are not registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the Data Protection Act, could be factors that are considered.

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