Scrap metal dealers

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 and silver, or any alloy which is 2 percent or more by weight attributable gold or silver.

Any trading business which handles scrap metal as a dealer or collector in our district will need either a:

  • scrap metal dealer site licence, or
  • scrap metal collector licence.

Each licence lasts for three years. Mobile collectors and site licence holders must 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 carrier's licence may be required for a collector licence, which you will need to check with the Environment Agency.

If you trade in scrap metal without a valid licence you will be committing a criminal offence, which may lead to prosecution and can lead to an unlimited fine.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act came into force in 2013.

Apply for a scrap metal dealer site licence

A scrap metal dealer is defined as "someone carrying on a business which consists wholly or in part of buying or selling scrap metal whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it is bought". A scrap metal dealer site licence covers you to collect anywhere within England or Wales, as long as the collection is by arrangement only and not door to door collections.

If you trade from a fixed location within the South Holland District Council area, you need to apply for a Scrap Metal Dealer Site Licence. If a site licence holder uses self-employed collectors to collect scrap metal which will be processed by the site, each collector will require a collector licence. We advise you to contact our Planning service or Lincolnshire County Council's Planning service to check that you have the correct planning permission for your property.

  • To apply for a licence, please complete the Icon for pdf scrap metal dealer application form [196.94KB]
  • along with the application form, you must submit all supporting documentation:
    • basic criminal record, no older than three months on the date of application, which can be obtained from DBS checking on GOV.UK
    • applications without all supporting documents will not be accepted
  • enclose the appropriate fee of £337
  • photographic ID for example; passport or DVLA driver's licence photo card. If you don't have a passport or DVLA licence photo card, you'll need to get a photograph endorsed as a true likeness by a solicitor, notary, lecturer or other professional person and complete our Icon for pdf scrap metal photo endorsement form [50.97KB].

Please be aware that you may need to be registered with the Environment Agency for a waste carrier's licence, if you are transporting scrap metal.

A South Holland District Council licensed site must display a copy of its licence that can be seen by the general public.

Apply for a scrap metal collector licence

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

  • To apply for a licence, please complete the Icon for pdf scrap metal dealer application form [196.94KB]
  • along with the application form, you must submit all supporting documentation:
    • basic criminal record, no older than three months on the date of application, which can be obtained from DBS checking on GOV.UK
    • applications without all supporting documents will not be accepted
  • enclose the appropriate fee of £236
  • a passport size photograph for a collector licence
  • photographic ID for example; passport or DVLA driver's licence photo card. If you don't have a passport or DVLA licence photo card, you'll need to get a photograph endorsed as a true likeness by a solicitor, notary, lecturer or other professional person and complete our Icon for pdf scrap metal photo endorsement form [50.97KB].

Please be aware that you may need to be registered with the Environment Agency for a waste carrier's licence, if you are transporting scrap metal.

A licensed collector will display a valid photographic collector licence issued by South Holland District Council. This notice should be visible from outside their vehicle and will include our logo.

How we process scrap metal licence applications

We'll consider any information we deem relevant to assess the applicant's suitability to be issued a Scrap Metal Dealer Licence. This may include:

  • criminal records check (DBS) of relevant convictions of the Operator or Site Manager
  • the applicant has been refused or had revoked a scrap metal dealers licence
  • the applicant has been refused a relevant permit or registration.

Relevant offences or convictions are detailed on the Act's legislation

Check a scrap metal dealer

The Environment Agency have a public register for all scrap metal licences. 

If you think that you have been approached by an unlicensed scrap metal dealer, please report it to Lincolnshire Police by calling 101 or email us at licensing@sholland.gov.uk.

Selling to scrap metal dealer or collector

A collector cannot pay you in cash for any scrap metal collected from you. Payment can only be made by electronic transfer or non transferable cheque.

If you take scrap to a licensed site, you will need to take formal ID with you, such as a passport or DVLA driver's licence, as the Site Manager must record these details. If you require further information please contact us using our Licensing general enquiry online contact form.