Licence - Scrap Metal

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act was introduced in 2013 and requires every scrap metal dealer and motor salvage operator to have a licence. Operating without a licence is a criminal offence.

Who needs a licence?

You must have a scrap metal licence if you collect or buy scrap metal.

This includes:

  • Any old, waste, discarded metal / metallic material
  • Any product, article, or assembly which is made from or contains metal and is broken, worn out or regarded as having reached the end of its useful life
  • Gold and silver aren’t classed as scrap metal

There are two types of licence specified in the Act.

Site 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.

The cost of this is £408 for a 3 year licence.

Collector’s licence

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, 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.

The cost for this is £205 for a 3 year licence.

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

How long do I need to keep my records for?

Entries must be made immediately upon receipt, processing or despatch and books containing records must be kept for two years following the last entry.

Apply online

Apply for a Scrap Metal Dealers Licence


If the council rejects an application (or revoke it or vary it) the applicant will be notified in writing.

The applicant will be given the opportunity to make representations or let the council know that they wish to.

The letter will also specify a period of time in which the applicant has to do this, which cannot be less than 14 days from the date on which the notice is given to the applicant. If the applicant does not make any representations, or does not say that they wish to in that time period, then the council can refuse the application or revoke or vary the licence.

Duty of Care

The law places a legal duty of care on anyone from producers to carriers and disposers of waste to ensure that waste is not illegally disposed of, does not escape from a person's control and is transferred to an authorised person such as a local authority, registered carrier or licensed disposer.

Beware of Rogue Waste Collectors

As a householder you have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure your waste items (including fridges, bicycles or lawn mowers) are disposed of properly.

Anyone removing waste from your household should normally be licensed with the Environment Agency. You can call them on 08708 506 506 and request an instant waste carrier validation check or check online.

If you hire another person (such as builder, plumber, gardener) or leave items for passing scrap metal dealers to remove on your behalf and your items get fly tipped, you can be held responsible and could get fined (up to £5,000).

If you are not disposing of the item(s) at a Household Waste Recycling Centre (tip), you should:-

  • Ensure that the unwanted items are on your property and not left on a road or pavement for collection.
  • Check the licence/badge of the person collecting the item(s) to ensure they are authorised or ask for their Waste Carrier Number. Also record their vehicle registration number if you can.
  • If they cannot show relevant ID or refuse to, you should refuse their services.
  • Cash cannot be used as payment and you should ensure you get a receipt with their details on (including their waste carrier number).
  • Ensure that they have a record of your name and address written down.


Check (registration/ID)

Refuse (if they cannot provide registration number)

Ask (for receipt)

Paperwork (keep it as proof of your transaction)

Have questions or need to report a suspected unlicensed scrappie?

If you still have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with the Licensing Team using the contact details at the side of this page.

Licensing Register

The Licensing Register.

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