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Scrap metal

A scrap metal dealer is defined as someone whose business consists wholly or partly in buying or selling scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it was bought or carries on a business as a motor salvage operator.

Licence summary 

In order for anyone to carry on a business as a scrap metal dealer they need to have a licence. The London Borough of Hillingdon issues licences that last for a period of three years.  

Every scrap metal dealer is required to have a licence under The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 and operating without a licence is a criminal offence. 

There are two types of licence: 

Site Licence

  • All sites where a scrap metal dealer business is carried out have to be licensed.
  • A site manager must be named for each site.  
  • The licence allows the licensee to transport scrap metal to and from the sites from any local authority area.

Collector's Licence

  • This allows the licensee to operate as a collector in the area of the issuing licensing authority only.  
  • It does not allow the collector to operate in any other local authority.  
  • A separate licence must be obtained from each local authority area the collector wishes to operate in.  
  • The licence does not authorise the licensee to operate a site.
  • This will require a site licence from the relevant local authority.

Where the sale of scrap metal is incidental to the main type of work or business undertaken then no licence will be required. 

For more information, please read the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 Supplementary Guidance.

What you need to know before applying 

Applications will need to be made to the local authority in which the site is located, or in the case of a collector to the authority that covers the area where the collector wishes to operate. A collector may have a number of licences for different local authority areas. It is not permitted to hold a collectors licence and a site licence in the same authority area. 

The following supporting information is required:

Basic disclosure certificate

  • This is needed for each applicant (including site managers, directors, company secretaries, shadow directors, all partners in the case of partnership).
  • This can be obtained from Disclosure Scotland on application the disclosure certificate should not be older than three months.

Environmental permits

  • If you carry waste as part of your business it is a legal requirement to register as a waste carrier (upper tier).
  • This includes transporting waste while travelling from job to job, to a storage place for disposal later, or to a waste disposal company or waste site.
  • For more information on this or to register, call 03708 506506 or visit the GOV.UK website

The following information is also required when making your application:

  • bank accounts used
  • photographic identification eg a passport, driving licence or other acceptable means of identification
  • two passport photographs will be required for collector's licences on application

If you need more help in completing the application then call your local council licensing team.

How to apply 

Fees for all applications: 2016-2017 [207kb]

Apply now

What happens next?

Applications will be administered as soon as possible and in most cases within ten working days. 

In some cases the council may propose to refuse an application, or revoke or vary a licence or to add a condition on a licence. 

In this instances the applicant will be notified and the reasons for the decision will be given.

The notification will give the applicant or licensee the opportunity to make representations or let the council know they wish to make representations in respect of the decision. 

The applicant or licensee will be given 14 days to do this.

Fines and penalties

During the application process the council reserve the right to liaise with the police, the council's regulatory unit (Anti-Social Behaviour team) and the council's Planning Department to help ascertain whether the applicant or site is considered suitable.

In some instances you could also face 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. The penalty for operating without a licence is £5,000 fine.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 17 Feb 2017 at 15:03