Scrap metal dealers 

Licensing of scrap metal dealers from October 2013 

A scrap metal dealer is defined in the 2013 Act as a person who: 

  • carries on a business which consists wholly or partly in buying or selling scrap metal
  • carries on business as a motor salvage operator 

Trading without a licence is a criminal offence for which you can be fined up to £5000 on conviction in a magistrates' court. A conviction may also prevent you from being granted a licence in future. 

Types of licence 

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. 

  • 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, so 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.
It should be noted that 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 (s2(9)). 


Site Licence

Mobile Collectors Licence

New / Renewal**









Variation from a Site Licence to a Mobile Collectors Licence



Variation from a Mobile Collectors Licence to a Site Licence



Minor variation (Example: change of married name)



Replacement / Copy of Licence

Download an Application Form

Is your scrap metal collector licensed? Click here to check the current and pending licences

As a resident, What do I need to know?

Enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

Whether you are a home hobbyist, home handyman or metal manufacturer, your store of scrap metal can build up until it becomes a nuisance and a hazard to store. These items can include items with sharp edges or metals that are contaminated with solvents or grease. This scrap metal can also be a source of extra money and disposing of scrap metal properly is a concern of many people. A number of private individuals or companies offer to collect scrap-metal or as part of their routine waste disposal rounds. However in December 2013 The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (the Act) came into full force in an effort to curb the metal thefts.
Verification of Your Identity
A scrap metal dealer must not receive any scrap metal from a person without first checking that person’s name. This verification must be by reference to documents, data or other information as follows;
To verify a person’s name and address, a dealer should refer to;

a) any document listed in Group A below which bears the person’s full name, photograph and residential address; or
b) a document listed in Group A which bears the full name, photograph and date of birth, and a supporting document listed in Group B which bears the person’s full name and residential address.
The dealer must keep a copy of any such documentation that has been used to verify a supplier’s identity.
Group A
• a valid United Kingdom passport, within the meaning of section 33(1) of the Immigration Act 1971(1)
• a valid passport issued by an EEA state
• a valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland photo-card driving licence
• a valid UK biometric immigration document, issued in accordance with regulations made under section 5 of the UK Borders Act 2007(2)
Group B*
• a bank or building society statement
• a credit or debit card statement
• a council tax demand letter or statement
• a utility bill (but not a mobile telephone bill)
*Group B documents must have been issued no earlier than 3 months prior to the receipt of the scrap metal
In other words you will need to show these documents before the scrap metal dealer is allowed to take away your scrap metal.
Being Paid For Scrap Metal
A scrap metal dealer must not pay for scrap metal in cash, but by a cheque which is not transferable, or by an electronic transfer of funds (authorised by a debit or credit card).
If the payment is made by cheque, the dealer must keep a copy of this cheque.
If the payment is made by an electronic transfer, the dealer must keep a copy of the receipt or, if there was no receipt, the dealer must record the particulars of the transfer
            This means the scrap metal dealer can NOT pay for your scrap metal in cash.
I am often approached by people offering money to remove my scrap metal. Is this ok?
It may be tempting to pass your scrap metal to such people, particularly if they offer to pay you for it. However, many people who operate in this way are not licensed to carry waste and you would commit an offence by passing your scrap metal on to them. Unlicensed dealers may also offer to take away other waste along with any scrap metal, waste which is often found fly-tipped elsewhere. In such cases, you could be held responsible for not meeting your Duty of Care.
Don’t get caught out – always ask to see a Waste Carrier’s Licence and their scrap metal licence. 

Date of last review: 16 April 2014