Scrap metal dealer

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 came into force on 1st October 2013.

The Act repeals the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and consolidates scrap metal dealers & motor salvage operators under one licensing regime. Local Authorities will continue to act as the main regulator but the new Act gives Licensing Authorities more powers, including the power to refuse a licence and powers to revoke licences if the dealer is considered unsuitable. Both the Local Authority and the Police have been given powers to enter and inspect premises.

Summary of the Act

A “scrap metal dealer" is defined as a person carrying on a business which consists wholly or in part of buying or selling scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it is bought, this includes motor salvage operators.

"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 is not considered to be "scrap metal":

  • gold,
  • silver, and
  • any alloy of which 2 per cent or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver

What type of licence do I need?

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

Site Licence

A site licence will be issued by the Local Authority in whose area a scrap metal site is situated. A list all of the sites within the borough at which the licensee carries on the business as a scrap metal dealer will be required. A site manager must also be named for each site. In doing so, they will be permitted to operate from those sites as a scrap metal dealer, including transporting scrap metal to and from those sites from any Local Authority area.

Collector's Licence

A mobile collector's licence will authorise the licensee to operate as a mobile collector in the area of the issuing Local Authority, permitting them to collect any scrap metal as appropriate. This includes commercial as well as domestic scrap metal.
The licence does not permit the collector to collect from any other borough; a separate licence would need to be obtained from each borough in whose area the individual wished to collect in. A licence also does not authorise the licensee to carry on a business at a site within any area - should a collector wish to use a fixed site, they would need to obtain a site licence from the relevant Local Authority. There is no restriction as to the location where the collector may transport and sell their metals.

Duration of Licence

Both licences are valid for a period of 3 years.

Please note: a dealer cannot hold both a site and mobile collectors licence from the same local authority.

What do I need to apply?

  • A completed application form
  • A basic disclosure form – a basic disclosure certificate must be submitted for each person named on the application form. The certificate must be no more than three months old.
  • The relevant application fee

Apply for certificate 

The completed form and accompanying documents should be sent to

You can also send it via post to Licensing, Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ

For any queries, please contact us on 020 8937 5359.

Processing your application

The Licensing Authority has to be satisfied that an applicant is a suitable person to carry on business as a scrap metal dealer. In considering suitability, the Local Authority must consult with:

  • Any other Local Authority (where an application has been made or licence issued to the same applicant),
  • The Environment Agency, and
  • The Police

The licensing authority can decide to grant, refuse, or vary an application, based on results of the consultation and whether the applicant or any site manager has been convicted of a relevant offence.

Where the applicant makes a representation against the council’s decision to refuse or vary a licence, a licensing committee will be held to consider the application.

Duties of the Licence Holder

A licensee must display of a copy of their licence.

  • A Site licence must be displayed in a prominent place where it can be seen by the public.
  • A mobile collector’s licence must be displayed in the vehicle where it can be easily read by a person outside the vehicle. 

Dealers must keep a record of any scrap metal they receive or dispose of in the course of their business.

  • For metal received:
    • The dealer, site manager and employees with delegated responsibility must verify the full name and address of anyone they receive scrap metal from; This must be done by checking documents, data or other information from a reliable source such as the DVLA, passport office, bank or utility company;
    • Keep details of the date and time it was received, the registration number of any vehicle it was brought in and the name and address of anyone who brought it in;
    • Keep copies of any documents used to verify the name and address of someone they have received metal from;
    • Keep copies of the payment/receipt details given when the metal is paid for;
    • It is an offence for a dealer to pay cash for scrap metal.
  • Where metal is disposed of:
    • The dealer must keep a record of its description, the date and time of its disposal and the name and address of any person it is sold to.

A criminal offence is committed by any scrap metal dealer who fails to fulfil these requirements.