Scrap metal dealer licensing

Overview of the law

The law requires all scrap metal dealers to hold a licence with their local authority. Additional guidance is also available.

Scrap metal includes:

  • any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic material
  • 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

The following are not considered to be scrap metal:

  • gold
  • silver
  • any alloy of which 2% or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver

There are 2 types of licence:

  • a site licence
  • a collector’s licence

A licence can be issued to an individual, a partnership, or a company. You cannot hold both a site and collector's licence issued by the same council at the same time.

Site and collector's licences are valid for 3 years.

There are record keeping requirements for site operators and collectors. This includes records of metal received and disposed of, details of who it was received from, the documents used to verify the name and address of the supplier and the payment.


Licence type Site Collector
New £494 £315
Renewal £408 £262
Variation £112 £112