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Scrap Metal

If you wish to carry out business as a scrap metal dealer in the Rochford District you must apply to us for a licence.

This includes:

  • a business which consists wholly or partly of buying or selling scrap metal, whether or not the metal is processed in any way in between; or
  • a business which carries out motor salvage activities, such as dismantling vehicles for parts to be reused or sold, or buying written-off vehicles for repair and subsequent resale, or trades vehicles for either of these purposes

Scrap metal includes 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.

Gold, silver and alloys containing more than 2% by weight of these metals are not deemed to be scrap metal.

Carrying on business as a scrap metal dealer without, or in breach of, a licence is a criminal offence, carrying a maximum fine on conviction of £5,000.

Types of licence

There are two types of scrap metal dealer licence, which one you need depends on how your business is organised.

Site licence

A site licence is required by businesses operating fixed sites, such as a collection yard to which people bring metal to sell, a storage facility where metal which has been received is stored prior to processing or disposal, an industrial unit at which vehicles are dismantled or repaired, or an office from which the business is carried on or where vehicles are kept when not in use. This licence also enables the operator to transport scrap metal to and from those sites.

Collector’s licence

A collector’s licence is required by businesses which do not operate any fixed sites and which collect metal by way of visits from door-to-door. A licence will be required from each council in whose area it is intended to collect.

You may not hold a site licence and a collector’s licence issued by the same council at the same time.


  • 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.

Supporting documents

You will be required to submit the following supporting documents with your application:

  • a basic disclosure certificate, not more than 3 months old at the time of application, for each individual, partner, company director and site manager named in the application
  • a copy of photographic ID
  • a passport sized photograph
  • a utility bill
  • a copy of your Environment Agency registration as a waste carrier, broker or dealer

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.

Motor salvage operator

Licence summary

If you are a motor salvage operator, you must be register with your local authority.

Eligibility criteria

A person is a motor salvage operator if they:

  • recover for reuse or sale, in whole or in part, salvageable parts from motor vehicles and sell or otherwise dispose of the rest of the vehicle
  • mainly or wholly buy written-off vehicles and repair and resale the same vehicle
  • mainly or wholly sell or buy motor vehicles that are to be subject to any of the two activities above
  • carry out activities that fall under the latter two points above

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence (external website)

Application evaluation process

Applications for registration must comply with any requirements set by the local authority and must be accompanied by a fee.

Applications will be refused if the local authority is not satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to carry on business as a motor salvage operator. The local authority will take into account any relevant previous convictions. If an application or an application for a renewal is refused the local authority does not have to consider any other applications by the person for three years from the date of refusal.

A local authority may cancel a registration and does not have to consider any application for registration from the cancelled operator for three years from the date of the cancellation.

If a local authority intends to refuse an application or cancel a registration they must serve a notice on the applicant or operator. The notice must give details of what they are proposing to do, the reasons for it and the period during which the person may make representations. This period must not be less than 14 days and starts from the date of service of the notice.

A notice will be served detailing the decision of the local authority as to whether to grant an application, renew a registration or cancel a registration.

Notice of changes to registered information must be made to the local authority within 28 days of the change.

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period