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Scrap metal dealers

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act came into force on the 1 October 2013.

This Act repeals the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and consolidates scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators under one licensing regime administered by the Local Authority.

The 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.

Summary of the Act


The Act defines ‘scrap metal dealer’ as a person who is for the time being carrying on a business as scrap metal dealer whether or not authorise by a licence. It further states that ‘scrap metal’ 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.

The following is not considered to be ‘scrap metal’:

  • gold
  • silver and
  • any alloy of which 2% or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver.

Key changes from 1 October 2013

  • Dealers and collectors will no longer be able to buy scrap metal for cash
  • Detailed records must be kept for receipt and disposal of scrap metal
  • The police and the Licensing Authority will have powers to enter and inspect sites including closure powers for unlicensed sites
  • A national register of licences will be maintained by the Environment Agency


There are two types of licence specified in the Act.

  • Site Licence - when you have a site or premises to store your metal. This licence will allow you to transport scrap metal to and from any local authority area.
  • Collectors Licence - when you operate as a mobile collector and have site or store. This licence allows you to operate as a collector in Gloucester only. It does not allow you to to collect any other local authority area. If you intend to collect in other areas then you will need a licence from the respective local authority for that area.

It's not allowable to hold both a Site Licence and a Collectors Licence issued by the same authority. You must decide which licence is most appropriate to your business.

Disclosure certificate

The licence application includes a requirement for the applicant and, where appropriate, company directors and site managers to submit a Basic Disclosure Certificate in order to demonstrate that they are a suitable persons to hold a licence. You may apply to Disclosure and Barring Service for a certificate.


Schedule of fees

Home Office guidance

The Home Office has produced useful guidance to assist applicants and Licensing Authorities with the implementation of the new Act. 

Further advice

For more information please contact the Licensing Team on 01452 396 678 or community.wellbeing@gloucester.gov.uk

To make an application - Apply for a scrap metal dealers licence.

To vary an application - Application to vary a scrap metal dealers licence   

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