To be a scrap metal dealer operating from premises or as a collector, you need a premises or collector's licence from us.

Licence types and fees

There are two types of licence. There is also an application fee which you need to pay at the time you apply, and then an enforcement fee, which you need to pay when we grant you your licence:

Site licence 

  • New (first time grant) application fee - £283.95 
  • Renewal application fee - £193.33
  • Enforcement fee - £90.62
  • Variation - £193.33
  • Change of details / replacement licence - £5.92

Collector's licence

  • New (first time grant) application fee - £228.07
  • Renewal application fee - £202.20
  • Enforcement fee - £45.31
  • Change of details - £18

Each licence lasts for three years.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 gives us powers to approve a licence depending on the suitability of the applicant.  We can also refuse or revoke a licence depending on various considerations identified in the act.

Applying for a scrap metal dealer's licence

We would recommend that you get in touch with our licensing team using the contact details on this page to make an appointment to apply for your licence.

At the appointment, we will take your photograph and complete an application form with you.

So that we can process your application, please bring with you:

  • A photographic identity document e.g. passport, driving licence photo card
  • Proof of your right to work in the UK e.g. British passport, birth certificate, visa in passport
  • A copy of a recent (within one calendar month) basic disclosure from Disclosure and Barring Service for all people named as business associates, or site managers on your application
  • Proof of the bank account you will be using for your business e.g. bank statement, account opening letter
  • Details of any waste carriers licence or environment agency permits held
  • The appropriate fee
  • For a site licence only - a plan showing the area of each site that you would like to licence

'Relevant' convictions 

As part of considering if someone is suitable to hold a scrap metal dealer's licence, we will consider if they have any 'relevant' convictions. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act (Prescribed Relevant Offences and Relevant Enforcement Act) Regulations 2013 sets out what, we, as the licensing authority, must consider.

Applying for a collector's or site licence

There is some debate about when a site or collector's licence is needed. This is because a site licence is only needed for a site from which you operate, while a collector's licence is needed from each council area in which you operate. This can be more expensive if you collect from a number of different council areas. 

At the moment,  we consider that a site licence can be for any relevant address and does not mean there has to be scrap actually present. This is subject to change from future guidance/case law.

If you operate from your home address, we may consider this suitable for a site licence. However you will need to make sure you have the appropriate waste management and planning permissions in place.

A site licence only allows you to collect to, and from, the site and therefore would apply only to pre-arranged visits to specified addresses to collect scrap. If you are intending to visit an area unannounced to find, and buy, potential scrap, you will need a collector's licence.

What you must do as a scrap metal dealer

Once issued, you must display the site licence in a prominent position either on the premises, or, for a collector's licence, on the vehicle you use for collecting scrap.

Scrap metal dealers cannot now receive scrap without confirming and keeping copies of the identity of the supplier. The supplier must provide his or her full name and address, along with separate documents showing evidence of these details.

There must be no cash purchases of scrap metal in any circumstances - payment must be by cheque or electronic transfer of funds. You must keep copies of all cheques.


You must also keep detailed records of all suppliers; people they sell to; a detailed log of the metal itself and copies of any payments you receive.

You must keep your records in a manner which allows the information and the scrap metal to which it relates to be readily identified by reference to each other.

You must keep all records for at least three years from the date you received or disposed of the metal. 

The definition of scrap metal

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'.

The only exemption to this is gold and silver, or any alloy which is  two per cent or more by weight attributable gold or silver.

Environment Agency permits and licences

If you transport scrap metal and/or deal with scrap vehicles or vehicle parts, you will most likely need a licence or permit from the Environment Agency. You can find out more on The Environment Agency website or by calling 08708 506506.

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