Scrap metal dealer licence (England and Wales)

You must get a scrap metal dealer licence from the council if you buy, sell or store scrap metal

Apply for this licence

For example SW1A 2AA

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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:

  • a description including type, form, condition, weight, any marks identifying previous owners or distinguishing features
  • the 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:

  • a description including type, form and weight (site licence holders only)
  • the 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 must tell the council within 28 days if you change your trading name or no longer carry on business as a scrap metal dealer.

Renewing your licence

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

From 4 April 2022 you’ll need to complete a tax check telling HMRC how you pay tax on earnings related to your scrap metal licence. Find out what rules you’ll need to follow before you can renew your licence.

Fines and penalties

You could be fined £5,000 if you do not 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.