Licensing - Scrap Metal Licence

From 1 October 2013 the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 comes into force and repeals the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. This means that instead of being registered with us, you will now need to apply for a licence.

Licence summary

To be a scrap metal dealer you must hold a licence with your local authority.

There are two types of licence:

  • Site licence
    The site licence must state all the sites in the local authority’s district where the holder of the licence has a site; sites in other local authority areas will require a licence with the authorities where those sites are. A site manager/s must be named on the licence. The site licence will allow holders of this licence to transport scrap to and from the site from any other area.
  • Collector’s licence
    This collector's licence is for mobile collectors who collect scrap metal other than at a site, and regularly engages, in the course of that business, in collecting waste materials and old, broken, worn out or defaced articles by means of visits from door to door. Collectors must hold a licence in each local authority area where they collect.

Motor salvage operators are included in this licensing regime.

The licence is valid for three years.

Eligibility criteria

A person carries on a business as a scrap metal dealer if the person:

  • carries on a business which consists wholly or partly in buying or selling of scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it was bought, or
  • carries on a business as a motor salvage operator

A motor salvage operator is someone who carries on a business which consists:

  1. wholly or partly in recovering salvageable parts from motor vehicles for re-use or sale and subsequently selling or otherwise disposing of the rest of the vehicle for scrap.
  2. wholly or mainly in buying written-off vehicles and subsequently repairing and reselling them
  3. wholly or mainly in buying or selling motor vehicles which are to be the subject (whether immediately or on a subsequent re-sale) of any of the activities mentioned in paragraph (1) or (2) above  or
  4. wholly or mainly in activities falling within paragraphs (2) and (3).

Scrap metal includes:

  • any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic material and,
  • 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 are not considered to be scrap metal:

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

Application process

  • Applicants must complete the application form as prescribed by the Home Office.
  • Applications must be submitted with the appropriate fee.
  • Applications must be submitted with a current Basic Disclosure – no more than one month old. (Three months old during the transitional period only)
  • Applicants must hold the relevant waste/environmental permits
  • The local authority will consider if the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence and consult with the Police and the Environment Agency and any other local authorities as may be considered necessary when making this decision
    • The Environment Agency will be consulted to make sure the applicant holds the relevant waste/environmental permits and to make sure the applicant has not been convicted of any environmental offence.
    • The Police will be consulted with if there are any relevant convictions stated on the Basic Disclosure and to see if there is any outstanding enforcement action against the applicant
    • Other local authorities will be consulted if the applicant holds or has held a licence elsewhere to make sure that there have not been grounds for a licence to be refused or revoked.
  • In the case of a company, the suitable person assessment to carry on business as a scrap metal dealer the local authority will consider:
    • Any director of the company
    • Any secretary of the company
    • Any shadow director of the company
  • In the case of partnerships, each partner will undergo the suitable person test.


Scrap Metal Licence Fee from 1 April 2017
New licence Site licence £410
Mobile collector £310
Licence renewal Site licence £275
Mobile collector £175
Variation Substantial variation £45
Minor variation £20

How to apply

Apply by:

Failed applications

If a local authority intends to refuse a licence application, the applicant will be served with a notice to advise of this along with the reasons for the refusal. The applicant has a right of redress against the refusal by making a representation to the Council to state why you disagree with the decision to refuse your licence. Representations will be heard by a licensing sub-committee. If an applicant is refused at a sub-committee hearing, applicants can appeal to the magistrates’ court.

Revoked licences

The same process applies to licences that are revoked by the local authority if a licence holder wants to challenge the decision.