Scrap metal site registration

Last Updated:

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 28 February 2013 and its measures are to be implemented with effect from 1 October 2013. The new Act repeals the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 (currently administered by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council) and Part 1 of the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 (currently administered by Kent County Council) creating a revised regulatory regime for the scrap metal recycling and vehicle dismantling industries in England and Wales.

The Act was introduced in response to the growth in metal theft offences, driven by increased commodity costs, which in addition to the direct impact on the victims of theft have also had a damaging and disruptive effect on the country's infrastructure. The current regulation of the scrap metal industry consists of a simple registration scheme which has done little to prevent this type of crime.

Scrap metal dealer

A person carries on business as a scrap metal dealer if the person

  • Carries on a business which consists wholly or partly in buying or selling scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold on the form in which it was bought

Motor salvage operator

A person carries on business as a motor salvage operator if the person

  • Wholly or partly is recovering salvageable parts from motor vehicles for re-use or sale and subsequently selling or otherwise disposing of the rest of the vehicle for scrap
  • Wholly or mainly is buying written-off vehicles and subsequently repairing and reselling them

Definition of scrap metal

The Act states that "scrap metal" is:

  • Any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic materials, 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

The following is not considered to be "scrap metal"

  • Gold, silver or any alloy of which 2 per cent or more is attributable to gold or silver

Types of licence

There are two types of licence specified in the Act, both of which last for a 3 year period:

Site licence

all the sites where a licensee carries on business as a scrap metal dealer have to be identified and a site manager 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 licensing authority. It does not allow the collector to operate in any other local authority area, so a separate licence has to be obtained for 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.

Timetable for transition to new regime

The new regime under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 will commence on 1 October 2013. In order to provide time for councils to process applications without existing businesses being in a position where they cannot operate, the Home Office is implementing a transition process.

The transition timeline is:

  • The Commencement Order was made on 6 August 2013.
  • Local authorities can set licence fees from 1 September 2013.
  • The main provisions of the Act commence on 1 October 2013 including the offence of buying scrap metal for cash.
  • Dealers and motor salvage operators registered immediately before 1 October 2013 will be deemed to have a licence under the Act from 1 October 2013.
  • Provided the dealer submits an application for a licence on or before 15 October 2013 their deemed licence will last until the council either issues them with a licence or gives them notice of the decision to refuse them a licence, although they will be able to continue trading pending an appeal against the decision not to grant a licence.
  • Where a dealer with a deemed licence fails to submit an application on or before 15 October 2013 the deemed licence will lapse on 16 October 2013.
  • Other scrap metal dealers, not previously registered, will be able to apply for a licence from 1 October 2013 but will have to wait until a licence is granted before they can legally trade.
  • Local authorities will complete suitability checks on applicants and decide whether to issue licences. It has been recommended by the Local Government Association that decisions on whether to grant or refuse a licence to previously registered dealers are made before 1 December 2013.

All other enforcement provisions within the Act will commence on 1 December 2013.

Proposed fees

Proposed fees subject to approval by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

  • Site licence grant - £360 (£94 paid with application, £266 paid when licence is granted)
  • Site licence renewal - £340 (£88 paid with application, £252 paid when licence is granted)
  • Collectors licence, grant or renewal - £280 (£74 paid with application, £206 paid when licence is granted)
  • Variation (such as change of address) £30

Each licence covers a 3 year period.

Submitting an application

Briefing notes

Application form for registration as a scrap dealer

Scrap metal dealers registration - disclosures of convictions and declarations

Further Information

Contact us at