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Scrap metal dealer's licence


You must hold a valid scrap metal dealer's licence if you buy, sell or collect scrap metal as a business or if you operate as a motor salvage operator.

What is scrap metal?

Scrap metal is waste metal, metallic material or any product that contains metal that is broken or no longer considered to be of any use.

Scrap metal does not include gold, silver or any alloy of which 2% or more is gold or silver.

What types of licence are there?

There are two types of licence:

  • site licence - allows the licensee to operate from one or more specified sites in the Borough and covers transporting of scrap metals to and from these sites; each site will need to have had planning permission and a licence from the Environment Agency
  • mobile collector's licence - allows the holder to collect scrap metal within the Borough but does not allow the storage of it on site

If your business involves working in a number of local authority areas, you will need to get relevant licences for each area.

How do I apply for a scrap metal dealer's licence?

To obtain a licence you must:

How do I display my licence?

If you hold a site licence you must display a copy of the licence in a prominent position at each site identified.

If you hold a mobile collector's licence you must display a copy of the licence on any vehicle that collects scrap metal, so that it can be easily read by a person outside the vehicle. 

How long will my licence last?

Three years from the date the licence was issued.

How much is the licence?

Current fees for scrap metal licences Scrap metal licence fees
Type of licenceNewRenewalVariationCopy of licence
Mobile collector£235.00£235.00N/A£15

What if I make changes to my scrap metal business?

Your licence is only valid for the activities and people stated in your application. If you make any changes, you must apply for a variation by completing another scrap metal dealer's licence application form.

If you change the legal type of your company (for example become a limited company), you will have to complete a whole new application and criminal record check, even if your old licence has not expired.

What happens if I don't get a licence for my scrap metal business?

You could be fined up to £5,000.

What if collecting scrap metal is only part of my trade?

You may need a scrap metal dealer's licence if you operate a skip hire company, or are a tradesperson, and the volume of scrap metal you collect and sell forms a significant part of your business. 

Where can I find the public register of licensed sites and mobile collectors?

The Environment Agency publishes a national register of site licences and mobile collector licences (opens new window).

You can also use the quick check facility on the Environment Agency: Public registers (opens new window) page.

Where can I find a summary of the regulations?

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