Scrap metal dealers' licences

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Provides information on how to apply for Scrap Metal Dealers Site and Mobile Collectors Licence

As of 1st October 2013 The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 came into force.

Do I need a licence to deal in scrap metal?

If you collect and carry scrap metal or have a site which buys/sells scrap metal, you will require either a Scrap Metal Dealers Site Licence or a Scrap Metal Collectors Licence within each of the districts you trade in.

Each licence lasts for 3 years. If you apply for a Scrap Metal Site Licence this covers you to collect anywhere within England or Wales as long as the collection is by arrangement only and not door to door collections.

The definition of a Scrap Metal Dealer is 'someone carrying on a business which consists of buying or selling scrap metal whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it is bought'.

Mobile collectors and site licence holders need to ensure they comply with relevant environmental legislation and regulation when carrying out their business.  An Environmental Permit or exemption is required for a site licence and a Waste Carriers licence may be required for a collectors licence.  You will need to check with the Environment Agency,

Scrap metal dealers site licence

If you trade from a fixed location within the Ipswich Borough you need to apply for a Scrap Metal Dealers Site Licence.

If a site licence holder uses self-employed mobile collectors to collect scrap metal which will be processed by the site, each collector will require a Scrap Metal Collectors Licence.

We advise you to contact Ipswich Borough Council’s Planning Department to check that you have the correct planning permission for your property.

Scrap metal collectors licence

This is defined as “a person that carries on a business as a scrap metal dealer other than at a site, and regularly engages in the course of that business in collecting waste materials and old broken/worn out or defaced articles by means of door to door visits”.

A collector will need a licence to buy or sell any scrap metal collected.  Even if the material is provided free of charge, a licence is required in order to sell it on.

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

What is classed as scrap metal?

Scrap Metal is defined as: '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 only exemption to this is gold, silver, and alloy which is 2% or more by weight attributable gold or silver.

How do I apply for or renew a scrap metal dealers licence?

You will need to complete the application form and pay the fee.

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Along with this application form you must submit all supporting documentation (applications without all supporting documents will not be accepted):

  • Basic Criminal record, no older than three months old on the date of application, this can be obtained from You will need to contact them directly to obtain this.
  • Plan of the site showing the area to be licensed - where the scrap metal business will be taking place (Scrap Metal Site Licence only)

Will I be granted my scrap metal dealers licence?

The Council can consider any information it deems relevant to assess the applicant's suitability to be issued a scrap metal dealers licence.

This may include:

  • The Criminal Records Check (CRB) - relevant convictions of the operator or site manager.
  • If the applicant has been refused, or had revoked, a Scrap Metal Dealers Licence.
  • If the applicant has been refused a relevant permit or registration.

Do I need a licence to transport scrap metal?

You may need to be registered with the Environment Agency for a Waste Carriers Licence.

What Happens if I do not apply for a scrap metal dealers licence?

If you trade in scrap metal without a valid licence in place you will be committing a criminal offence.

This may lead to prosecution and can lead to an unlimited fine.

How do I check if a scrap metal dealer is licensed?

A licensed collector will display a valid licence issued by Ipswich Borough Council. This notice should be visible to you from outside their vehicle and will include the Council logo.

A Ipswich Borough licensed site must display a copy of its licence that can be seen by the general public.

Scrap metal collectors, will also need an upper tier waste carriers licence from the Environment Agency.

You can check if licensed by Ipswich Borough Council’ – ‘Licenses’

If you think that you have been approached by an unlicensed Scrap Metal Dealer please report it to Suffolk Constabulary on 101 or contact Ipswich Borough Council’s Licensing Team.

What other changes will affect me as a member of the general public?

A collector is no longer able to pay you in cash for any scrap metal he collects from you.

Payment can only be made by non-transferable cheque or electronic transfer.

When taking scrap to a licensed site you will need to take formal ID with you i.e. passport or DVLA driving licence, and the Site Manager must record these details

Contact Details

Licensing and Enforcement,
Ipswich Borough Council,
3W Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,

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01473 432063