Scrap metal licensing

All those carrying on business as a scrap metal dealer must hold a scrap metal dealer's licence under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. The majority of the new legislation came into force on 1 October 2013 and the remainder of the legislation (mainly penalties) came into full force from 1 December 2013.

In summary, the new legislation provides the following:

  • Scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators are both be "scrap metal dealers". 
  • The licence application process includes consultation with the Police and Environment Agency

There are two categories of licence:

  • A site licence (may be for multiple sites within the council's area)
    • A "site" is any place occupied for the purposes of the scrap metal dealer's business; a site licence holder may collect scrap metal, but only by prior arrangement
  • A mobile collector’s licence (separate licences are required for each council area where collections take place)
    • A mobile collector must not occupy a site for the purposes of their scrap metal business, but may collect scrap metal without prior arrangement
  • The council has power to refuse or revoke licence or impose conditions where appropriate, subject to the right to make representations before refusal, revocation or the imposition of conditions (these are limited to times of operation and a requirement that metal will be kept in its original form for minimum of 72 hours)
  • A copy of the licence must be displayed at the site or on a mobile collector's vehicle where it can be read by the public
  • Sellers must produce prescribed personal ID (photo ID) and proof of address at the point of sale - the dealer must keep a record of the documents produced
  • The Police and the council have powers to inspect sites and records of scrap metal transactions
  • There is a central on-line register of licences published by the Environment Agency
  • Application fees for the three-year licence are set by the council
  • Closure Notices (from police or council) for unlicensed sites; Closure Orders (via the Magistrates’ Court) if still used as such after seven days
  • There is Statutory Guidance from the Home Office to accompany the legislation
  • Cash purchases of scrap metal are prohibited - payment must be by cheque or electronic transfer of funds - the only possible exception will be where a vehicle is driveable and has an MoT certificate or has genuine potential for repair - see the scrap vehicle cash flow chart


The application form and other information is available - please note that every individual named in the application (individual applicants, partners, company directors or site managers) must provide a  basic disclosure certificate for criminal convictions with the application. This can be obtained online from Disclosure and Barring Service.

Disclosure certificates must be dated no more than three months before the date when a valid application is received by us.

Tax Check

From 4th April 2022 all scrap metal dealers will have to undergo a tax check with the HMRC. If you make an application on or after 4 April 2022 you’ll need to complete a tax check if you’re:


The council has set fees for licence applications as follows:

  • Three-year site licence £400.00
  • Three-year collector's licence £400.00
  • Variation of licence £150.00
  • Replacement licence £25.00

Applicants are strongly advised to seek their own independent legal advice before making an application for a licence.


The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 completely replaced the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and part 1 of the the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 (registration of motor salvage operators).

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 28 February 2013, and replaced the previous registration requirements for scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators from 1 October 2013. Applications must now be made for site licences and mobile dealer's licences under the new legislation.

Those registered under the previous legislation before 1 October 2013 had until 15 October 2013 to submit an application for a new licence under the legislation, in order to remain licensed pending the determination of that application.

In addition to a licence under the 2013 Act, the following may be required:

  • A waste management licence or a hazardous waste licence from the Environment Agency
  • Registration of the business with the Health and Safety Executive
  • Planning permission for the use of any premises in connection with the business
  • Please see the links below for further information on each of these and other information about the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

The formal register of scrap metal dealer's licences under the 2013 Act is kept by the Environment Agency. Details of licensed scrap metal dealers in Southampton are published locally as an extract from the register and are available through:
 Public Access

Further information

Data Protection

Please note that the licensing authority may be required by law to disclose to the appropriate authorities, from time to time, further information relating to applications and licences for the purposes of law enforcement and the prevention of fraud.