Licensing - Scrap Metal Dealer and Motor Salvage Operator

Why do I need a licence?

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

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.

What is a scrap metal dealer, what is a site, what is a mobile collector and what is scrap metal?

A dealer is defined as someone carrying on a business which consists wholly or in part of buying or selling scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it is bought. However a manufacturing business that sells scrap metal created only as a by-product of the processes it uses, or because it has a surplus of materials, is not caught by this definition. The definition of scrap metal dealer is deliberately quite widely drawn, and there are no further details provided in the Act or the explanatory notes about who potentially might have to apply for a licence.

Dealers under the legislation are further divided into two categories based on the two different types of licence: those operating from fixed sites; and those who are mobile collectors. A collector is defined as a person who carries on business as a scrap metal dealer otherwise than at a site, and regularly engages in the course of that business in collecting waste materials and old, broken, worn out or defaced articles by means of door to door visits.

A site is defined in the Act as ‘any premises used in the course of carrying on business as a scrap metal dealer (whether or not metal is kept there)’. Due to the wording of the definition this means that someone who trades in scrap metal and is thus defined as a dealer will need a site licence for their office even if they do not operate a scrap metal store or yard.

A dealer also includes someone carrying on business as a motor salvage operator. This is defined as a business that:

• wholly or in part recovers salvageable parts from motor vehicles for re-use or re-sale, and then sells the rest of the vehicle for scrap
• wholly or mainly involves buying written-off vehicles and then repairing and selling them off
• wholly or mainly buys or sells motor vehicles for the purpose of salvaging parts from them or repairing them and selling them off.

Scrap metal itself includes any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic material, and 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. This definition is not intended to include second hand goods, but these could be caught by the definition if they are made from or contain metal that is broken or worn out. It will be a question in each case as to whether items fall within the definition. The definition does however include platinum and a range of other rare metals now being used in catalytic converters although gold or silver are not included in the definition of scrap metal. Jewellers or businesses trading in second hand gold and silver jewellery or products are not therefore caught by this definition.

Licence applications

Schedule 1 of the Act sets out what information must accompany an application for a scrap metal dealers licence. This includes:

• the full name, date of birth and usual place of residence of an individual applicant (including mobile collectors), anyone proposed as a site manager for a site, and every partner where a partnership is applying for a licence
• the company name, registered number and registered office address where it is the applicant
• any proposed trading name for the business
• the telephone number and email address (if any) of the applicant.
• where it is a site licence, the address of each proposed site to be included on the licence
• the address of any site in another council area where the applicant already carries on business or proposes to do so
• details of any relevant environmental permit or registration held by the applicant
• details of any other scrap metal licences issued to the applicant within the three years before making this application
• details of the bank account(s) to be used for cashless transactions – where a licensee operates multiple sites different bank accounts may be used
• details of any relevant conviction or enforcement action that relates to the applicant.

There are practical reasons why this information has to be supplied. Either it relates to details that have to be included on the licence if it is granted, it helps in the assessment of an applicant’s suitability to hold a licence, or it has to be provided to the Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales for inclusion on the national register of scrap metal dealers.

With applications by companies the suitability of any directors, shadow directors and company secretaries need to be assessed so councils will also ask for their details. In the event that an applicant does not supply the information that has been requested, the council can refuse to proceed with the application. This could be of relevance where an applicant has refused to provide a Basic Disclosure to enable the council to arrive at a view on the suitability of the applicant.

Applications received after 4 April 2022 will also need to provide information to allow the Council to undertake a tax conditionality check as set out in the attached HMRC tax conditionality document. Please ensure this form accompanies your completed application.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No.  It is in the public interest that the local authority must process your application before it can be granted.  Please contact the local authority if you have not heard from it within a reasonable period of time..

How Can I Apply?

An application form for licensing as a scrap metal dealer is available on this page.

What if my application fails?

Please contact the local authority in the first instance. If an application is refused, or a licence revoked or conditions added to an existing licence, the applicant may appeal to the local Magistrates Court. An application must be made to the court within 21 days of the local authority serving notice.

How can I make a complaint?

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Are there any trade associations?

British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA)

If you require any further information, please contact:

Licensing Team
Legal & Democratic Service
Test Valley Borough Council
Beech Hurst
Weyhill Road
Hants SP10 3AJ

Telephone: 01264 368000