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Scrap Metal

You must hold either a site or mobile collector’s licence, issued by the council, if you’re a scrap metal dealer in England and Wales.


You must not receive scrap metal from a person without verifying their name and address

You must not buy scrap metal for cash

A site licence must be displayed in a prominent place, accessible to the public, at each site identified in the licence

A mobile collector’s licence must be displayed on any vehicle that is being used in the course of the business and can be easily read by a person outside the vehicle

You must keep a record of all scrap metal you receive including:

  • description including type, form, condition, weight, any marks identifying previous owners or distinguishing features
  • date and time
  • the registration mark of the vehicle it was delivered in or on
  • the full name and address of the person received from
  • the full name of the person who makes the payment acting for the dealer

You must keep a record of all scrap metal you dispose of including:

  • description including type, form and weight (site licence holders only)
  • date and time
  • the full name and address of the person disposed to
  • if payment is made (by sale or exchange), the price of other consideration received (site licence holders only)

You must keep your records for 3 years and allow the council or police to inspect your premises and records if asked.

How to apply

You must pay a licence fee and tell the council:

  • your name, address, date of birth, telephone number and email address
  • the name, address and registered number of your company
  • the name, address and date of birth of each partner (if partnership)
  • proposed trading name
  • address of any site in any council area you carry on, or propose to carry on, business as a scrap metal dealer
  • details of any relevant environmental permit or registration
  • details of any other scrap metal licence issued in the last 3 years
  • details of the bank account that will be used to pay for scrap metal
  • details of any conviction for a relevant offence or any relevant enforcement action
  • address of each site to be identified in the licence
  • name, address and date of birth of site manager named in the licence

You’ll need to renew your licence every 3 years.

You must tell the council within 28 days if you change your trading name or no longer carry on business as a scrap metal dealer.

Fines and penalties

You could be fined £5,000 if you don’t hold a licence

You could also face the following conditions:

  • you must not receive scrap metal except between 9am and 5pm on any day
  • all scrap metal must be kept in the form it was received up to 72 hours from when it was received

A council may revoke a licence at any time and close unlicensed sites

You will need to produce the documents listed in the guidance upon application.