Scrap Metal Dealers must apply to their local authority for a licence under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. We act as the principle regulator but the Act gives authorities powers to refuse a licence and powers to revoke licences if the dealer is considered ‘unsuitable’.  

Scrap Metal Dealer

A person carries on business as a scrap metal dealer if the person:

  1. carries on a business which consists wholly or partly in buying or selling scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it was bought, or
  2. carries on business as a motor salvage operator so far as that does not fall within paragraph 1

Motor Salvage Operator

  1. A person carries on business as a motor salvage operator if the person carries on a business which consists:
  2. wholly or partly in recovering salvageable parts from motor vehicles for re-use or sale and subsequently selling or otherwise disposing of the rest of the vehicle for scrap,
  3. wholly or mainly in buying written-off vehicles and subsequently repairing and reselling them,
  4. wholly or mainly in buying or selling motor vehicles which are to be the subject (whether immediately or on a subsequent re-sale) of any of the activities mentioned in paragraphs (1) and (2), or
  5. wholly or mainly in activities falling within paragraphs (2) and (3).

Licence types

The 2013 Act brings in two types of licences either a site licence or a collectors’ licence. A person can only hold one of these licences in a Local Authority’s area, but can hold a licence in more than one Local Authority. 

Site licence

A site licence requires all of the sites at which the licensee carries on the business as a scrap metal dealer within the local authority area to be identified and a site manager to 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.

Collectors Licence

A collector’s licence authorises 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 local authority area. A separate licence should be obtained from each local authority from which the individual wishes to collect in.

A collector’s licence 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 will need to obtain a site licence from the relevant local authority. 

The Act 2013 also specifies that a licence will be issued by the local authority in whose area a scrap metal site is situated, or (in respect of a mobile collector) in the area that the collector operates.

All licensees are required to display their licence. For site operators, the licence must be displayed in a prominent place in an area accessible to the public. For mobile collectors, it must be in a manner which enables the licence to be easily read by a person outside the vehicle. 

It will be an offence to carry on a business as a scrap metal dealer in breach of the requirement to hold a licence. This offence is punishable on summary conviction with a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

Both types of licences expire after 3 years from the date of issue.

Please note: this does not replace a waster carriers licence.


What it costs

Site Licence                          

  • New - £355
  • Renewal - £305

Collectors Licence               

  • New - £155
  • Renewal - £105

Site/Collectors Licence Variation - £80

Copy of Licence - £10.50

Apply for a licence

To apply for a scrap dealers licence you can apply online.

Proof of identity

Please ensure you have read and understood the proof of idenitiy guidance before you submit your application

Application Evaluation Process

Applicants must submit the following documentation to the Local Authority (please note transitional dates):

  • Completed and signed application form
  • The appropriate fee
  • Basic Disclosure Scotland (CRB check) dated within 1 month of application for the applicant(s) and site managers as appropriate
  • Any further information requested on the application form

Licensed Scrap Metal Dealers must notify the Licensing Authority of any changes by applying for a variation.

Your application will be consulted with the Environment Agency, South Yorkshire Police and any other relevant Authority to determine suitability. The consultation period will be 28 days.

How we will notify you

The Licensing authority will acknowledge receipt of your application.

If there are any objections, you will be notified in writing and invited to a Licensing Committee who will determine your application.

If there are no objections and you are suitable to carry on the business as a scrap metal dealer, the licence will be issued to you as soon as reasonably practicable after the 28 day consultation period.

We are a part of the European network for delivering information relating to doing business in the European Economic Area. For full information on the EU Services Directive and Points of Single Contact for other member states from the European Commission.

Licensing Team

Ask us a question

01142734264 Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

Block C
Staniforth Road Depot
S9 3HD

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