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Scrap metal dealers

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 came into effect on 1  December 2013, replacing the previous registration schemes and requiring scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators to be licensed.

There are two types of licences, each valid for three years: 

  • Site licence - which may be for multiple sites within the Council’s area.
  • Collector’s licence - mobile collectors will need licences for every council area in which they collect. 

A completed application form must be accompanied by the appropriate fee, currently £350 for a site licence and £250 for a collectors licence and a CRB disclosure.   

Under the new Act, licensing councils have the power to refuse a license and to revoke licenses, if the dealer is considered unsuitable. Specified additional conditions can also be added where an applicant or site manager has been convicted of a relevant offence. The council and the police have been given powers of entry, inspection of premises and records required by the licence and are able to issue closure notices for unlicensed premises. 

Licensed scrap metal dealers must keep certain records for three years and can only pay for scrap by cheque or electronic transfer, not cash. Those supplying scrap must provide personal ID and proof of address at point of sale. 

You can apply online at Scrap metal dealer registration

What is a scrap dealer?

The Act defines a scrap metal dealer as someone: 

  • Running a business as a scrap metal dealer.
  • Buying or selling any scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it was bought.
  • Operating as a motor salvage operator, whether or not authorised by a licence.

Scrap metal includes:

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

Gold, silver and any alloy, of which 2% or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver, is not considered scrap metal.

More information