Scrap metal dealer licence

Last Updated: 4 October 2023

The rules have changed if you're an individual, company or any type of partnership applying for a licence as a:

  • scrap metal site
  • scrap metal collector

If you make an application on or after 4 April 2022 you'll need to complete a tax check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if you're:

  • renewing a licence
  • applying for the same type of licence you previously held, that ceased being valid less than a year ago
  • applying for the same type of licence you already hold with another licensing authority

You must carry out the tax check yourself. You cannot ask a tax agent or adviser to do this on your behalf.  If a tax check is not completed, the licensing authority will be unable to consider your application to renew your licence.

How to carry out a tax check

You can find all the information you need on how to register and undertake your mandatory tax check at GOV.UK: Changes for taxi, private hire and scrap metal applications from April 2022.

GOV.UK: Tax Check Factsheet helps you with this process. The tax check MUST be undertaken before you submit your application for renewal.

First-time applicants must give confirmation on their application form that they are aware of the guidance about their tax obligations and have read and understood the requirements which can be viewed at GOV.UK: Confirm your tax responsibilities when applying for a taxi, private hire or scrap metal licence.

If you do not confirm that you are aware of the guidance, you will not be issued with a licence.

Any business or person that buys or sells scrap metal must complete our tax declaration form:

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 replaced the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and the Motor Salvage Operators Regulation 2002.

The act gives councils more powers of control, such as refusal of a licence or revocation of a licence if the dealer is considered unsuitable or the operators are not abiding to the legislative requirements set out in their application.

The police and council now have powers of entry for inspection of scrap metal premises.

Main requirements of the act

  • you are required to hold a licence if your business is to collect, buy or sell scrap metal
  • motor salvage operators are now included
  • there is now a requirement for all metal dealers to complete applications and disclosures and satisfy the council that they are genuine traders
  • all applicants of the licence must now apply for a Basic Disclosure Certificate. All named people on the scrap metal licence form must provide a certificate. This includes the site manager and director
  • all sellers of metal must provide ID at point of sale which is recorded and retained by the scrap metal dealer
  • cash must no longer be given as payment for scrap metals. Sellers must be paid by BACS or cheque (or another traceable method). This will now apply to all collectors of scrap metal
  • there will be two licences available: a site licence or a collector's licence

There are two types of licence:

  • site licences allow the licence holder to buy and sell scrap from a fixed location
  • collector's licences authorise the licence holder to operate as a mobile collector who travels within the area to collect scrap metal from commercial/domestic premises. Mobile collectors are required to be licensed with all councils within the area they collect

The Environment Agency are required to maintain a register of scrap metal licences issued by authorities in England.

How to apply

Scrap metal licence application form (DOC 64KB / 9 pages)

Guidance notes for completing the scrap metal dealer application form (DOC 54KB / 4 pages)

Individuals applying for a collector's licence will need to register as a waste carrier.

This should be returned to the licensing group with all disclosure certificates, Environment Agency Waste Carriers Licence and the relevant fee.

Existing fees (2023/24):

  • site licence (grant), £414.98
  • site licence (renewal), £301
  • site licence (variation), £131.99
  • collector's licence (grant), £281.41
  • collector's licence (renewal). £170.73
  • collector's licence (variation), £136.45