Scrap metal site licence


A site licence authorises the licensee to carry on business at any site in a local council area which is identified in the licence.

The site licence must:

  • Name the licensee
  • Name the authority
  • Identify all the sites in the authority’s area at which the licensee is authorised to carry on business
  • Name the site manager of each site
  • State the date on which the licence is due to expire

This licence allows the licensee to transport scrap metal to and from their site by arrangement from any local council area providing it is in the course of the business from that site.

A site licence holder cannot regularly engage in collecting waste materials and old, broken, worn out or defaced articles by means of visits from door to door in the area they are licensed or elsewhere, as this would constitute carrying on a business as a mobile collector. 

However, it would be acceptable to collect by arrangement, for example, where a motor salvage operator is asked to transport a damaged vehicle from an address to their site.

If a site licence holder uses self-employed mobile collectors to collect scrap metal which will be processed by the site, each collector would need a mobile collector’s licence.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 does not intend to stop legitimate business and, therefore, prevent the transport of goods between businesses so the direct transport of scrap metal from the point of collection to a third party would be allowed.

Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, we must not issue or renew a scrap metal licence unless we are satisfied that an applicant is a suitable person to carry on business as a scrap metal dealer. 

How we decide suitability to trade

To determine this, we will consider any information that is considered to be relevant. This may include whether the applicant or site manager has:

  • Ever been convicted of a relevant offence or enforcement action
  • Had a previous refusal of a licence application or renewal
  • Been refused a relevant environmental permit
  • Had a scrap metal licence revoked
  • Demonstrated that there will be adequate procedures in place to ensure the provisions of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 are complied with

Information about any previous convictions and offences is confirmed on a basic disclosure check (GOV.UK) obtained by an applicant for them and any other person named on the application form.

Tax checks

On 4 April 2022, new rules on tax checks were introduced. All new and existing scrap metal site licence holders have to do these tax checks when applying for a site licence.

Before you apply, please read new rules on tax checks from 4 April 2022

Additional requirements

In addition to a site or collector's licence, you may need to obtain the following:

  • A waste management licence or hazardous waste licence from the Environment Agency
  • Registration of the business with the Health & Safety Executive
  • Planning permission for the use of any premises in connection with the business

Last updated: ‎26‎/‎03‎/‎2024‎ ‎13‎:‎45