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Scrap Metal Dealers

Licence Summary

In order to run a scrap metal business you must be licensed by the council. There are two types of licence:

A site licence - this will be required where a business is carried on as a scrap metal dealer at a premises. A site manager will be required to be named for each site. The licensee will then be permitted to operate from that site as a scrap metal dealer including transporting to and from those sites from any local authority area.

A collector’s licence - this authorises the licensee to operate as a mobile collector in the area of the issuing local authority, permitting them to collect scrap metal as appropriate. This includes commercial as well as domestic scrap metal. If a mobile collector operates within more than one local authority’s district, a licence will be required for each authority that they operate in.

The fee for the application process is as follows:
  • New or renewal site licence £502 
  • New or renewal collectors licence £359 
  • Variation to change from site to collector etc. £167 
  • Change of the name or address on the licence £46 
  • Replacement licence on loss £10.50

Eligibility Criteria

The council can only issue a licence to someone they consider to be suitable.  Relevant offences and enforcement action can be taken into consideration, as well as any other information.  We will need to ensure that the person or company applying for the licence exists and so you may be asked to present your ID.

Regulation Summary

The law that governs the licensing of scrap metal dealers is the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. However we have some guidance which might be easier to understand and has information that is specific to Leeds. It can be downloaded from the Downloads section of this page.

Application Evaluation Process

As part of the application process, the applicant must provide a DBS basic disclosure.  The council will also consult with agencies such as West Yorkshire Police, British Transport Police, the Environment Agency and other departments within the council.  All this information will be considered when deciding whether to issue the licence. 

If the council is minded to refuse a licence application, the applicant will be given the opportunity to make written or personal representations (by letter or in person). 

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. There are overriding reason of public interest that mean that this process does not fall under the tacit consent parameters. You cannot consider your application is granted if you have not heard from us by a certain time. However if you have been waiting a long time to hear from us, please do get in contact so we can check if your application is complete and advise you of the status.

Forms to download, print and post or email

Should you wish to apply electronically, you can download the form from this page which you can complete and post or email to us. We can take the payment over the phone. However please note you are still required to provide a basic disclosure and present forms of ID to us in person. If this is a problem for you please contact us as we may be able to help.


Please contact us in the first instance.

Public Registers or databases

A national register of scrap metal dealers can be found on the Environment Agency website.

Trade Associations

  • British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA)
  • International Aluminium Institute
  • International Lead Association
  • Metal Bulletin

Other licences, permits and permissions

If you carry or transport waste as part of your business with a view to making a profit you may also need a Waste Carriers Licence from the Environment Agency in addition to the Scrap Metal Dealers registration. You can register online. If you store or process metal at your site you may need an environmental permit. For further advice please call the Environment Agency on 08708 506506. 

If you use your own home to carry on business, you may need planning permission.  You can find information on this from this website.

If you use a vehicle to transport metal, you must ensure that your insurance documents specifically state you are insured to carry metal. If it does not, you may be driving without insurance.

Record of dealings

Every scrap metal dealer, both site and collector, must keep accurate records of the metal they receive and dispose of further guidance can be downloaded from the Downloads section on this page. 


Scrap metal includes

  • 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.

A scrap metal dealer is a person who is for the time being, carrying on business as a scrap metal dealer, whether or not authorised by a licence.

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 in the form in which it was bought, or
  • carries on business as a motor salvage operator

A mobile collector means a person who -

  • carries on business as a scrap metal dealer otherwise 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 visits from door to door.

A site means any premises used in the course of carrying on business as a scrap metal dealer (whether or not metal is kept there).

A site manager means the individual who exercises day to day control and management of activities at the site.

Use of Personal Data

We are under a duty to protect the public funds we administer and to this end may use the information you provide on your application for the prevention and detection of fraud. We may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes.

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