The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 ensures that there is more effective regulation of the scrap metal and motor salvage trades.

Licence summary

Scrap metal dealers and collectors must be registered with the local authority and this should help to support those that are legitimately operating and provide increased powers to tackle unscrupulous traders who are causing an issue within the industry.

There has been an increase in metal theft and it has been estimated that it has cost the economy approximately 250 – 800 million a year. There has also been disruption of energy supplies, transport and telecommunications networks, as well as problems because inspection covers have been taken and memorials desecrated.

The powers do allow local authorities to grant a licence but also allow a dealer to be refused a licence if he or she is deemed ‘unsuitable’. It will now be possible under certain circumstances for the Council to consider whether a licence should be revoked or renewed and ‘relevant’ convictions can now be taken into account. Other agencies will be consulted during the application process and they will be able to raise concerns if they feel that is an issue with a trader.

There are two licences one is a site licence and the other is a collector’s licence. You will need to apply for one or the other in the local authority area where you trade. If you trade within a number of local authority areas you will need to make an application to each local authority in order to continue to trade in that area.

An application form that you must complete and send it in to the local authority can be found on this page. There are guidance notes attached to the form which should help you in being able to fill it in. Because this licence is covered by the EU Services Directive, you may also apply online using the gov.uk website and links to the online form can also be found below. The licence is valid for three years.

You will also need to apply for a Basic DBS Disclosure. This will need to be provided with your application as proof that you have done this and submitted the payment to them. They indicate that they should be able to process these within 14 days.

There is some guidance available on the Local Government Association website that provides more information about the detail of the new Act that you may find helpful.

How to apply

The application fee is £500 for the initial grant and £400 for renewals.

You can download and complete our Scrap Metal Dealer Application Form The application form also contains our guidance notes. You will need to make a payment at our Make a Payment page and quote your receipt number on the application.

For new applications only, applicants may pay 5% less when making an application. If you do, you would then be invoiced for this amount plus £20 for the additional administration cost, when the licence has been issued.

Once you have your licence, you can vary your licence during the licence period for a fee of £70. To vary your licence you will need write to us enclosing your fee.

When your licence is due to expire we will write to you and invite you to renew. You can renew your application by downloading and completing our Scrap Metal Renewal Form. You will need to make a payment at our Make a Payment page and quote your receipt number on the application.

Tax Conditionality – Scrap metal sites and scrap metal collectors

The government is putting in place new tax requirements for applications to certain licences from 4th April 2022. It assists people in the Scrap metal trade to complete a new tax check.

Most people are registered to pay tax, and this is about ensuring everyone pays the tax they should, creating a level playing field for the compliant majority. HMRC are working with industry bodies to make this as straightforward as possible. The check should take a few minutes every few years and is simply to confirm that someone is appropriate registered for tax.

You will need to complete a tax check when you renew your licence as a:

  • Scrap metal site.
  • Scrap metal collector.

After you have completed the tax check you will be given a 9-character tax check code. You will need to provide this code on your licence application. Please note: You will not be granted a licence if you do not provide a valid tax check code on your licence application.

Further information can be found on the following links.

Gov.uk Tax check factsheet so you can understand what will be required as this will apply to all renewals and new applications.

In order to complete an online tax check you will need to register for a Government Gateway Account

For further information please refer to Gov.uk changes to scrap metal licence applications or contact the Licensing Team.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply to Scrap Metal Dealer Registration.

It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through gov.uk or use the contact details above.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you – preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked gov.uk can offer advice on Consumer Protection Rights.

Trade associations

You may find these organisations useful: