Public weighbridge operator's licence and motor salvage operator

Operators of public weighing equipment must ensure that they can perform their duties competently and honestly. To operate public weighing equipment you must hold a certificate from the Chief Trading Standards Officer.

Applicants will be tested by a Trading Standards officer to show that they can:

  • operate the weighbridge satisfactorily
  • complete any weighbridge tickets and documentation satisfactorily
  • understand basic terms associated with operating a weighbridge
  • understand their duties as a weighbridge operator
  • understand potential frauds which a weighbridge operator may unknowingly assist
  • understand how the accuracy of the weighbridge may be affected
  • perform simple arithmetic

Before applying for a test, please make sure you have received sufficient training in the operation of the equipment.

The scope of an operator's certificate is limited to the type of weighbridge you will be expected to use.  Should the weighbridge be replaced, a new certificate will be required.

Good weighing practice

Annex 1 contains a glossary of terms associated with public weighing and in.

Regular checks should be made to ensure:

  • there is clearance between the plate and its surrounding frame – if the weighing machine operates using a lever bottomwork, the plate should swing freely endways
  • the weighbridge is properly balanced when unloaded and the indicator shows zero

The weighbridge operator must know how to balance the weighing machine. The balance of a weighbridge will be affected by the accumulation of dirt, etc, on or around the plate. This should be regularly cleaned to avoid any excessive build-up.

Beneath the plate, levers or load cells may be affected by the build-up of dirt or sand and this should be cleared as necessary. If your weighbridge is prone to such contamination, a regular maintenance programme should be implemented.

In a pit-mounted weighbridge, balance and accuracy may be affected by a high water level in the pit which 'floats' the bottom work. In such circumstances, pumping facilities should be available and the weighbridge operator will be expected to know how to use it.

The most common cause of balance error is due to rain on the plate. During periods of rain, balance should be checked and adjusted more frequently, and again as the plate dries.

It is good practice to note on the weighing certificate if any parts of a vehicle are missing. It is not unusual when weighing for taxation purposes for seats, spare tyres and even batteries to be removed in order to get the weight down to a lower category.

See weighbridge notes Tower Hamlets Trading Standards Team.

Weights and measures advice from Trading Standards


Motor salvage operator

Motor salvage operators must register with the council.

A person is a motor salvage operator if they:

  • recover for reuse or sale, in whole or in part, salvageable parts from motor vehicles and sell or otherwise dispose of the rest of the vehicle
  • mainly or wholly buy written-off vehicles and repair and resale the same vehicle
  • mainly or wholly sell or buy motor vehicles that are to be subject to any of the two activities above
  • carry out activities that fall under the latter two points above

View summary of the regulation relating to this licence

Evaluation process

Applications will be refused if we are not satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to carry on business as a motor salvage operator. We will take into account any relevant previous convictions. If an application or an application for a renewal is refused we do not have to consider any other applications by the person for three years from the date of refusal.

We may cancel a registration and do not have to consider any application for registration from the cancelled operator for three years from the date of the cancellation.

If we intend to refuse an application or cancel a registration we must serve a notice on the applicant or operator. The notice must give details of what they are proposing to do, the reasons for it and the period during which the person may make representations. This period must not be less than 14 days and starts from the date of service of the notice.

A notice will be served detailing our decision as to whether to grant an application, renew a registration or cancel a registration.

Notice of changes to registered information must be made to us within 28 days of the change.

As it is in the public interest that we process your application before it is granted, you cannot operate as a motor salvage operator until your application has been approved. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us.


Complaints and appeals

Please contact us with any complaints or appeals. If an application is refused you may appeal to the local Magistrates court. Applications must be made within 21 days of service of the notice from 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 the Licensing Authority.

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

Contact us

London Borough of Tower Hamlets - Licensing Section

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Tel: 020 7364 5000 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday only)