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Scrap metal dealer licence

If you wish to collect or deal in scrap metal you must have a scrap metal dealer’s licence before you can trade.

Scrap metal includes steel, iron, copper, brass and aluminium. You do not need a scrap metal dealer’s licence for trading in precious metals such as gold or silver.

Scrap metal dealers must keep records from whom and what they are collecting. They cannot buy metal for cash.

Scrap metal dealers may also require planning permission and a waste carrier’s licence.

You're classed as a scrap metal dealer if you:

  • Operate a business which involves buying or selling scrap metal
  • Buy or sell scrap metal on the internet
  • Operate a business as a motor salvage operator

There are two types of licence, each is valid for three years:

Site Licence

A site licence authorises the licence holder to carry on business at any site in the council‟s area which is identified in the licence

If a site licence holder uses self-employed mobile collectors to collect scrap metal which will be processed by the site, each collector would need a mobile collector‟s licence.

Collectors Licence

A collector's licence authorises the licensee to carry on business as a mobile collector in the licensing council‟s area only

a) carries on business as a scrap metal dealer otherwise than at a site, and (b) regularly engages, in the course of that business, in collecting waste materials and old, broken, worn out or defaced articles by means of visits from door to door

A mobile collector's licence will cover any employees working for that business. If they are not employed directly by that mobile collector's business and are self-employed, they will need their own collector‟s licence even if they are collecting metal from the same van as a person who has a mobile collector‟s licence.


New application

  • Site licence - £689
  • Mobile collectors licence- £451


  • Site licence - £392
  • Mobile collectors licence - £245

Change to licence

  • Variation to site licence - £206
  • Change of site manager - £65
  • Variation to mobile collectors licence - £97
  • Change of details (site and collector) - £48

Tax Checks

From 4 April 2022, there will be a small addition to the checks we already have in place on applications. You will need to complete a tax check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when you renew your licence to deal in scrap metal.

How changes may affect you

What you need to do will depend on whether you’re applying for a licence for the first time or whether you’re making a subsequent application, such as renewing a licence.

Getting a new licence: If you are applying for a licence for the first time, you will not need to complete the tax check. However, you will be required to read HMRC guidance on what you need to do to be properly registered for tax in the future and you will need to confirm you have done this on your application form. Please visit the following link for tax responsibilities guidance.

Complete a tax check for a taxi, private hire or scrap metal licence

Renewing a licence: From 4 April 2022, every applicant will need to complete a tax check and provide a tax check code on your application, if you are:

Renewing a licence

  • Applying for the same type of licence they previously held, that ceased to be valid less than a year ago
  • Applying for the same type of licence they already hold with another licensing authority
  • About the tax check

You will be able to complete this tax check on GOV.UK, through your Government Gateway account. You will only need to answer a few questions to tell HMRC how you pay any tax that may be due on income you earn from your licensed trade. If you do not already have a Government Gateway account, you can sign up on GOV.UK.

The tax check should only take a few minutes. Please visit the below link for further information on how to obtain your Tax code: Anyone who needs extra support will be able to complete the tax check by phone through HMRC’s customer helpline.

When you have completed the tax check, you will get a code. You must give this code to us on your application form. We cannot proceed with your licence application or renewal until the tax check is completed and we have received the code.

We will only receive confirmation from HMRC that you have completed the tax check, we will not have access to information about your tax affairs.

What you need to do

If you have not registered to pay tax on earnings from your licensed trade, please visit the following links to check if you need to register, as soon as possible.

You can get help from HMRC if you need extra support, for example if you need information in a different format or need help filling in forms. Visit GOV.UK and search ‘Get help from HMRC if you need extra support’.

For any further guidance on the tax check, visit the Government website.

GOV.UK application guidance