Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 replaces the previous registration system for scrap metal dealers created by the 1964 Scrap Metal Dealers Act. In its place it establishes a new licensing regime. This scheme will be run and administered by local authorities. The new regime will start from October 1 2013 with transitional application being received between October 1 and October 15 2013.

Every scrap metal dealer will be required to have a licence and current motor salvage operators will now be licensed under this legislation.

There is also a ban on using cash to pay for scrap metal which will also come into force on October 1 2013.

Do I need a licence

If your business continues to deal in the buying or selling of scrap metal whether the metal is sold in the form in which it is bought or not, then yes. Scrap metal is defined as 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.

If however, you are a tradesperson who sells scrap metal as surplus material, like a plumber, then you may not need one.  You must however consult with your local authority for further advice.

This authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and to this end may use the information you have provided on this form for the prevention and detection of fraud.  It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes.

For more details on how your information is used please refer to the Environmental Health & Trading Standard privacy notice.

What licence do I require

There are two types of licence:

Site licence

You a have a premises used in the course of carrying on business as a scrap metal dealer (whether or not metal is kept there). Every site 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.

Mobile collector's licence

If you do not operate from a site but regularly collect waste materials from door to door visits. 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; to do so they will need a site licence from the relevant local authority.

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.

What documentation will I require in order to make an application?

Along with the application form you will require:

  • a basic disclosure from every person stated on the application form
  • a recent passport sized photograph from individual applicants
  • proof of address where residential addresses are provided.

Ensure all parts of the application are completed, a tick box is provided at the end to ensure you have provided all the required documents.

How much will the licence cost?

Scrap metal licence fees 2024 - 2025
 LicenceNew application Renewal Variation Duplicate
Site licence £859  £644  £289  £33
Mobile collector £503  £289  £183  £33
Variation from site to collector £300  N/A  N/A  N/A


How long does the licence last for?

The licence last for three years, a renewal application would then be required.

What happens once I submit an application?

The Licensing Authority will check the application to ensure all the relevant information is completed and the correct documentation is provided. The council may contact you for further information and may request further documentation from you in order to assess your suitability to hold a licence. The Metropolitan Police are consulted and may also contact you direct.

If the council are considering refusing your application you will receive a notice. The notice will specify a date on which you can decide whether to make oral representation. If you decide to do this you must respond by the date given.

A panel will then be arranged for you to attend, a decision will be made based on the representations given by all parties.

You will then be notified of the council’s decision.  

Can I appeal against the decision?

Yes you can.

You have 21 days to appeal the decision. You must register your appeal with Thames Magistrates Court, 58 Bow Road, London E3 4DJ.

The magistrates’ court then has the power to confirm, vary or reverse the council’s decision and issue any directions it considers appropriate having regard to the Act.

Can I transfer a licence?

It is not possible to transfer a licence. Every dealer must apply for their own licence.

What should I do once licence is issued?

If you hold a site licence you must display a copy of the licence at each site identified in the licence, this must be placed in a prominent position where the public are able to view it.

A mobile collector must display a copy of the licence on any vehicle used in the course of the dealers business. This must be able to be read from outside the vehicle.

You must notify the Council of any changes of circumstances.  This Includes:-

  • Change of trading name of the business
  • Ceasing trading
  • Any changes that materially affect the accuracy of the information provided on the application.

Requirements of the Act

You must NOT pay cash for scrap metal.

You must verify the full name and address of anyone you receive scrap metal from, this must be done by checking documents.

  • A dealer must keep a record of any scrap metal received or disposed of in the course of the business. For metal received the dealer has to keep the details of the date and time it is received, the registration number of any vehicle it was brought in and the name and address of anyone who brought it in. Dealers also have to keep copies of any documents they have used to verify the name and address of someone they have received metal from, and the cheque or receipt given when the metal is paid for.
  • 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.


There are further requirements for record keeping. Visit GOV scrap metal dealers or the the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 for more information.

You must ensure you have a waste carrier licence. For more detail, please contact the Environment Agency.


If you have any complaints regarding your application, please contact us.

Consumer complaints

We would 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, please contact us.

If you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.