Apply for a scrap metal licence

To be a scrap metal dealer you need a scrap metal licence, as stated in the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

When do you need a scrap metal licence?

If you intend to:

  • Wholly or partly buy or sell scrap metal. This is regardless of whether or not the metal is sold in a different form to which it was bought.
  • Act as a motor salvage operator.
  • Carry out the business from any site within the borough, with a site licence.
  • Act as a mobile collector within the borough, with a mobile collector's licence.

Site licence

A site licence must be displayed in a prominent place and accessible to the public, at each site identified in the licence.

Mobile collector's licence

A mobile collector’s licence must be displayed on any vehicle that is being used in the course of running the business. It must be easily readable by a person outside the vehicle.

A business cannot hold both types of licence from Harrow Council.

If collections are made in another borough a licence is also needed from that council.

Before you start

You need to tell us:

  • 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).
  • The proposed trading name.
  • The 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.

Apply for a scrap metal licence

Your scrap metal licence needs to be renewed every three years.

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.

Scrap metal licence fees

Licence type Fee
Site licence £700
Collector's licence £391
Variation of site licence £611
Minor variations for site licence £120
Variation of collectors licence £314
Minor variations for collectors licence £120

Criminal convictions

Would a conviction for a relevant offence automatically disqualify an applicant from receiving a licence?

No, not necessarily. We, as the local authority may choose to impose conditions or seek further evidence from partner agencies, including the police.

Would a conviction for an offence other than a relevant offence automatically disqualify an applicant from receiving a licence?

There would need to be a sufficiently strong reason to refuse the application. In assessing the applicant’s suitability we, as the local authority, can consider any information we deem relevant, including:

  • convictions for other offences
  • lack of planning permission
  • money service businesses on sites

What are the relevant offences?

The relevant offences mirror, where possible, those that the Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales consider when granting an environmental permit. This includes criminal offences relevant to metal theft.

The regulations also set out the relevant enforcement action local authorities may consider when assessing suitability.

Relevant offences are:

  • Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989: Section 1, 5 or 7(3)
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990: Section 33, 34 and 34(B)
  • Food and Environment Protection Act 1985: Section 9(1) and 9(2)
  • Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005
  • Hazardous Waste (Wales) Regulations 2005
  • Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002: Regulation 17(1)
  • Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000
  • Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007
  • Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006
  • Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011: Regulation 42

The following offences are limited to environmental and metal theft related offences:

  • Customs and Excise Management Act 1979: Section 170 and 170(B)
  • Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: Sections 327, 328, 330, 331 & 332
  • Theft Act 1968: Sections 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 22 & 25
  • Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964
  • Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013
  • Section 146 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
  • Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 1, 10, 12, 35 and 39
  • Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the offences listed above.
  • Inciting or aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of any offence listed above.
  • An offence under Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007(a) (encouraging or assisting crime) committed in relation to any of the offences listed above.

Buying and selling scrap metal

Businesses must not receive scrap metal from a person without verifying their name and address.

Keeping a record of scrap metal received

You must not buy scrap metal for cash and you need to ensure that you keep a record of all scrap metal you receive including:

  • a description stating 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

Keeping a record of disposed scrap metal

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 three years and allow the council or police to inspect your premises and records if asked.

Fines and penalties

You could be fined £5,000 if you don’t hold a licence. You must also comply with 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.

To find out more see the Local Government Association Guide to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.