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Scrap metal dealers licences

In order for anyone to carry on a business as a scrap metal dealer they must have a licence. These licences will last for three years. Trading without a licence is a criminal offence.

If convicted of trading without a licence the offender can be fined up to level five on the standard scale.

For further information or an application form please email

What is a scrap metal dealer?

The Act defines a ‘scrap metal dealer’ as a person who is for the time being carrying on a business as a scrap metal dealer, whether or not they are authorised by a licence.

It further states that scrap metal includes:

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

The following is not considered to be scrap metal:

  • gold
  • silver
  • any alloy of which two per cent or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver

What types of licences are there?

There are two types of licence specified in the Act:

  • Site licence
    All the sites where a licensee carries on business as a scrap metal dealer have to be identified, and a site manager has to be named for each site. This licence allows the licensee to transport scrap metal to and from those sites from any local authority area.
  • Collector's licence
    This allows the licensee to operate as a collector in the area of the issuing local authority. It does not allow the collector to operate in any other local authority area, so a separate licence has to be obtained from each council the collector wishes to operate in. The licence does not authorise the licensee to operate a site; to do so they will need a site licence from the relevant local authority.

It should be noted that a dealer can only hold one type of licence in any one local authority area. They have to decide whether they are going to have a site or a mobile licence in any one area. They cannot hold both a site and mobile collector's licence from the same council.

Who regulates the act?

We will continue to act as the main regulator but the new Act gives licensing authorities more powers, including the power to refuse a licence and powers to revoke licences if the dealer is considered unsuitable. Both the local authority and the Police have been given powers to enter and inspect premises.

All previous holders of Scrap Metal Dealer or Motor Salvage permits issued us (including those formerly registered with Chester City, Vale Royal and Ellesmere Port & Neston Councils) have been contacted by the licensing team and advised on how to proceed.

If you have not been contacted, please contact the licensing team urgently using the details below.

General enquiries

For further information about the Licensing Act, please contact the Licensing team.

Local Government Association Guidance

The Local Government Association has provided some useful guidance to assist applicants and local authorities with the implementation of the new Act. The LGA guidance can be found below.