Guidance Notes

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 Guidance on Applying for a Licence.


This document contains information relating to the application process for a Site or Collector Licence issued and regulated under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

What is Scrap Metal?

Scrap Metal includes:

  • Any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic materials, 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

Gold, silver or any alloy of which 2% or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver are not considered to be Scrap Metal.

What is a Scrap Metal Dealer?

A person is classed as a Scrap Metal Dealer if they:

  • Carry on a business which consists wholly or partly in buying or selling scrap metal, regardless of whether the metal is sold in the form in which it was bought


  • Carry on business as a Motor Salvage Operator

A Motor Salvage Operator is someone who 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 in the future) of the activities mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b)

It is a criminal offence to carry on business as a Scrap Metal Dealer without a licence.

Anyone guilty of such an offence is liable to receive a criminal record and a fine of up to £5000.

If you are in any doubt whether you require a licence, please contact a member of the licensing team to discuss your operation.

There are Two Types of Licence:

Site Licence

This allows the licence holder to carry on business at any site in the council’s area which is identified in the licence. All the sites must have their own designated site manager. A site licence holder can transport scrap metal from third party businesses by arrangement from any other local council area providing it is in the course of the business from that site. Motor Salvage Operators need a site licence.

A site licence holder cannot regularly collect waste materials or old, broken, worn out or defaced articles by means of door to door visits as this would constitute carrying on a business as a mobile collector. It would however be acceptable to collect by arrangement, for instance where a motor salvage operator is asked to transport a damaged vehicle from an address to their site.

If a site licence holder uses self-employed mobile collectors to collect scrap metal which will be processed by the site, each collector would need a mobile collector’s licence.

Collectors Licence

This allows the licensee to collect scrap metal in the licensing council’s area only; a separate collector’s licence is needed for each council area that a mobile collector collects scrap metal. Licenced mobile collectors can however dispose or sell scrap metal in any council area.

Mobile Collector’s need a licence to buy or sell any scrap metal collected. Even if the material is provided free of charge, a licence is required in order to sell it on. The licence does not allow the licensee to operate a site; to do so they will need a site licence from the relevant local authority.

A person may hold more than one licence issued by different local authorities, but may not hold more than one licence issued by any one authority, i.e. a person can only hold a Site Licence or a Collector’s Licence in any one local authority area.

Submitting an application