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Scrap Metal Dealers

To be a scrap metal dealer or motor salvage operator you need a premises metal dealer's licence from the local authority. This form of Licence does not replace the Environmental Permit or Waste Carrier's Licence Requirements. It does, though, replace from 1st October 2013, the registration processes previously provided for under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001. 

Downloadable application forms

GDPR and Privacy Statements

The full Privacy Statement for Scrap Metal Dealers Licences can be viewed here

Scrap Metal Dealers Licence in more detail

Licence summary

Dealers in scrap metal must be licensed by the local authority. In this case, scrap metal is 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. Gold and Silver are not regarded as scrap metal.

A scrap dealer is classed as carrying on a relevant business if the following apply:

a) The business consists wholly or partly in buying or selling scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it was bought, or

b) The business in question is one of a motor salvage operator

A licence must be either a site licence or a collector's licence. A site licence authorises the licensee to carry on the business at any site in the authority's area which is identified in the licence. A collector's licence authorises the licensee to carry on business as a mobile collector in the authority's area.

A separate Licence is required for each district/unitary council that the scrap metal business is operated in. A granted Licence has a term of three years from the date on which it is issued.

Eligibility Criteria

A local authority must not issue or renew a scrap metal licence unless it is satisfied that the applicant is a suitable person to carry on business as a scrap metal dealer. 

Regulation Summary

The relevant licensing framework is set out here

Application Evaluation Process

In determining whether the applicant is a suitable person, the authority may have regard to any information which it considers to be relevant, including in particular

(a) whether the applicant or any site manager has been convicted of any relevant offence;

(b) whether the applicant or any site manager has been the subject of any relevant enforcement action;

(c) any previous refusal of an application for the issue or renewal of a scrap metal licence(and the reasons for the refusal);

(d) any previous refusal of an application for a relevant environmental permit or registration (and the reasons for refusal);

(e) any previous revocation of a scrap metal licence (and the reasons for the revocation);

(f) whether the applicant has demonstrated that there will be in place adequate procedures to ensure that the provisions of this Act are complied with.

Details of the relevant offences are set out in the guidance notes for this licence type. For the purposes of assessing the issue of whether a relevant offence has been committed a criminal record disclosure for applicants must be provided by the applicant(s). It must not be more than 3 months old when submitted in support of an application.

The authority may also consult other persons regarding the suitability of an applicant, including in particular-

(a) any other local authority

(b) the Environment Agency;

(c) an officer of the police force.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it. The target completion period for processing these applications is 30 working days.

Apply online

The facility to apply online is not in place at present. However, application forms and guidance notes are available using the following links.

Application form and guidance notes for Scrap Metal Dealers:

Information about fees is included in the guidance notes.

These applications are to be used for applications for grant and renewal of a Licence and can also be used for variation application purposes.

Failed Application Redress

An applicant may appeal to a magistrates' court against the refusal of an application.

Licence Holder Redress

A Licence Holder may appeal to a magistrates' court against the inclusion in a licence of the conditions below, or the revocation or variation of a licence.


(a) that the dealer must not receive scrap metal except between 9am and 5pm on any day;

(b) that all scrap metal received must be kept in a form in which it is received for a specific period, not exceeding 72 hours, beginning with the time it is received.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre. A single national publicly available register of all scrap metal dealers will be available.

Other Redress

A scrap metal dealer must not pay for scrap metal except by a cheque or by an electronic transfer of funds. It is an offence for the dealer to pay for scrap metal with cash. Scrap Metal Dealers must keep detailed records of the scrap metal they receive and of the disposal of that metal.

Trade Associations

The following links to external websites open in a new window:

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