Scrap Metal licence

Provisions of the Scrap Metal Dealer's Act 2013 include the following:

  • The requirement for metal dealers to satisfy their local authority that they are a legitimate trader;
  • All sellers of metal must provide verifiable ID at point of sale which is recorded and retained by the dealer; 
  • A cashless offence will apply to all scrap metal dealers including ‘mobile/itinerant collectors’ who conduct house to house collections; 
  • There will be two types of licence available: a site licence or a collector's licence; 
  • There will be a single national publicly available register of all scrap metal dealers.

If you are transporting scrap metal as a scrap metal dealer you also require the relevant environment permit, exemption or registration issued by the Environment Agency in order to operate. 

There are fees applicable to this process.


Yes. A person cannot carry on business as a scrap metal dealer unless authorised by a Licence issued under the Act.

A person who carries on business as a scrap metal dealer in breach of this is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

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

(a)  Carry 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

(b)  Carry on business as a motor salvage operator (so far as that does not fall within paragraph (a)).

For the purposes of (a), a person who manufactures articles is not regarded as selling scrap metal if that person sells scrap metal only as a by-product of manufacturing articles or as surplus materials not required for manufacturing them.

For the purposes of (b), a person carries on business as a motor salvage operator if the person carries on a business which consists:

(a)  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,

(b)  Wholly or mainly in buying written-off vehicles and subsequently repairing and reselling them,

(c)   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 (a) and (b), or

(d)   Wholly or mainly in activities falling within paragraphs (b) and (c).

A “scrap metal dealer” is a person who carries on the business as a scrap metal dealer, whether or not authorised by a licence.

“Scrap metal” includes:

(a)  Any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic material, and
(b)  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.

But the following are not to be regarded as scrap metal:

(a)  Gold,
(b)  Silver, and
(c)   Any alloy of which 2 per cent or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver.

Yes. There are two types of Licence, one for a site and the other for a mobile collector (for those carrying on business otherwise than at a site).

A Site Licence which lets you buy and sell scrap metal from a fixed location within the council area. Each site will have a nominated Site Manager included on the Licence.

A Collector’s Licence which allows you to travel within the council area to collect scrap metal. You may not take this metal back to a site that you run within the council area in order to sell it.

You may only apply for one type of Licence in each council area, but you can apply to include multiple sites in that area on the one Licence.

The Act states that a council cannot issue a Licence unless it is satisfied that the applicant is a suitable person to carry on the business of a scrap metal dealer.

In the case of a partnership this means assessing the suitability of each of the partners in the partnership, while in the case of a company it means assessing the suitability of any directors, company secretaries or shadow directors.

Therefore as part of the application process you will have to provide a Basic Disclosure certificate (available via Disclosure Scotland) with the application form for each of the above as is relevant to your circumstances (as well as supplying one for each of the proposed Site Managers). This is to enable us to determine whether or not any person(s) proposed have a relevant conviction. Refusing to provide a Basic Disclosure certificate would be grounds under paragraph 4(2) of Schedule 1 of the Act for the council to decline to proceed with the application.

Any Certificate produced will need to be no more than three months old and we will return these to applicants once we have dealt with them.

In assessing an applicant’s suitability the council can consider any information it considers relevant. Applicants’ behaviour in the operation of their business, such as the fact they have been operating for a considerable period of time without planning permission for their site, or that they are not registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the Data Protection Act, could be factors that are considered.

We will notify you that we are proposing to refuse your application. We will give you 21 days in which to make representations against this; should you wish to make oral representations then we will arrange for the Licensing Sub-Committee to convene to hear these.

Should the Sub-Committee formally refuse your Licence you may then appeal to the Magistrates Court, within 21 days.

3 years and then lapses; the dealer must renew the Licence.

Under the Act you are required to notify us of any changes which would materally affect the accuracy of the information you provided to us in the making of your original application, this has to be within 28 days of the changes occurring. You can therefore apply to vary your Licence (there will be a fee charged for this). 

The options for variation are as follows:

  1. Change of licensee’s details (name or address).
  2. Change from a Site Licence to a Collector’s Licence or vice versa.
  3. Changes to the sites licensed (adding, removing or changing details).
  4. Change of Site Managers.

Should you cease to carry on the business of a scrap metal dealer you must also inform us of that fact within 28 days.

Yes. If you have a Site Licence you must ensure that a copy is displayed at each site identified in the Licence in a prominent place in an area accessible to the public.

If you have a Collector’s Licence you must ensure that a copy is displayed on any vehicle that is being used in the course of your business in a manner which enables it to be easily read by a person outside the vehicle.

No. It is an offence under the Act to pay cash for scrap metal.

You can only pay via the below methods:

  1. By a cheque which under section 81A of the Bills of Exchange Act 1882 is not transferable, or
  2. By an electronic transfer of funds (authorised by credit or debit card or otherwise).

The Secretary of State may amend these provisions to permit other methods of payment in which case these Notes of Guidance will be updated accordingly.

The Act states that a scrap metal dealer must record the following information: 

  • The description of the metal, including its type (or types if mixed), form, condition, weight and any marks identifying previous owners or other distinguishing features;
  • The date and time of its receipt;
  • If the metal is delivered in or on a vehicle, the registration mark (within the meaning of section 23 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994) of the vehicle;
  • If the metal is received from a person, the full name and address of that person;
  • If the dealer pays for the metal, the full name of the person who makes the payment acting for the dealer.

If the dealer receives the metal from a person, the dealer must keep a copy of any document which the dealer uses to verify the name or address of that person.

If the dealer pays for the metal by cheque, the dealer must keep a copy of the cheque.        

If the dealer pays for the metal by electronic transfer:

  • The dealer must keep the receipt identifying the transfer, or
  • If no receipt identifying the transfer was obtained, the dealer must record particulars identifying the transfer.

If a dealer disposes of scrap metal under a Site Licence they must record the following information:

  • The description of the metal, including its type (or types if mixed), form and weight;
  • The date and time of its disposal;
  • If the disposal is to another person, the full name and address of that person;
  • If the dealer receives payment for the metal (whether by way of sale or exchange), the price or other consideration received.

If a dealer disposes of scrap metal under a Collector’s Licence they must record the following information:

  • The date and time of the disposal;
  • If the disposal is to another person, the full name and address of that person.

The dealer must keep the information and other records mentioned above for a period of 3 years beginning with the day on which the metal is received or (as the case may be) disposed of.

A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

Statutory Instrument  2276 / 2013 (The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (Prescribed Documents and Information for Verification of Name and Address) Regulations 2013) contains the forms of ID which are acceptable and these are quoted below:

(1) For the purposes of section 11(3) of the Act, in order to verify a person’s name and address, it will be sufficient for the scrap metal dealer to refer to either–

(a) a document listed in paragraph (2) which bears the person’s full name, photograph and residential address; or
(b) both of–

(i) a document listed in paragraph (2) which bears the person’s full name, photograph and date of birth, and
(ii) a supporting document listed in paragraph (3) which bears the person’s full name and residential address.

(2) The documents which apply for the purposes of regulation 2(1)(a) or (b)(i) are as follows:

(a) a valid United Kingdom passport, within the meaning of section 33(1) of the ImmigrationAct 1971; or
(b) a valid passport issued by an EEA state; or
(c) a valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland photo-card driving licence; or
(d) a valid UK biometric immigration document, issued in accordance with regulations madeunder section 5 of the UK Borders Act 2007.

(3) The documents which apply for the purposes of regulation 2(1)(b)(ii) are–       

(a) bank or building society statement;
(b) a credit or debit card statement;
(c) a council tax demand letter or statement; or
(d) a utility bill, but not a mobile telephone bill

provided that the date on which the document in question was issued is not more than three months before the date when the scrap metal is received by the scrap metal dealer.

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