Scrap Metal Dealers


Scrap metal dealers' licences

Scrap metal dealers require a licence issued by their local authority.  

The current system of licensing was introduced by the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 and replaces the old system of registration.  

Those businesses that collect scrap metal incidental to their main business may not require a licence. Plumbers are an example. However, each case is treated on its merits.  If you collect scrap metal incidental to your business, you should make an enquiry with the Licensing Team so that they can advise you. 

There are two types of licences. These are:

•    A site licence

•    A collector’s licence

There are significant differences between the two types of licence and these are set out below. 

Site licences

The fees can be found in our Fees and Charges document.

These are primarily intended for those scrap metal dealers who operate from sites, but they may also be suitable for other types of dealer.  For instance, if you have a contract to collect scrap or carry out a scheduled round visiting regular customers, a site licence may be appropriate.  

Please note that the granting of a scrap metal dealers licence does not in itself authorise you to store scrap metal. You may require planning consent to do so.

You should apply to the local authority where your site or place of business is located, which in Arun is Arun District Council.  You will be required to display your licence at your place of business. 

Collectors' licences

The fees can be found in our Fees and Charges document.

Collectors’ licences are intended for dealers who make speculative visits to premises to collect scrap.

Unlike a site licence, a separate licence is required for each local authority area in which you operate. If you intend to operate as a collector in Arun you should apply to Arun District Council for a licence.

You will be required to display your collector’s licence on your vehicle whenever you are operating in the Arun District. 

How to apply

You will need to submit the following:

1.    A completed application form.  You can apply online here. 

2.    A criminal records check for each person named on the application form. See below for more details of how to do this. (We allow individuals named on the application form to send their criminal records check to us separately if they wish.)

3.    The appropriate payment (fees can be found in our Fees and Charges document.).

4.    IF YOU ARE APPLYING FOR A COLLECTORS’ LICENCE you will also need to submit a passport size photograph, endorsed on the back with the words, “I certify that this is a good likeness of (your name)” and signed by a responsible person, such as a teacher, police officer, bank official, or someone else of standing in the community. 

Obtaining a criminal records check

The easiest way to do this is on-line at Disclosure and Criminal Records Check.  This is a relatively easy to use and inexpensive way to obtain a criminal records check.  Please note that Arun District Council is not connected in any way with the Barring and Disclosure Service and is unable to assist with any issues experienced.

Having a conviction is not necessarily a bar to a licence being granted.  All cases will be considered on their individual merits.

Conduct of business

A scrap metal dealer must not receive scrap metal from a person without verifying their name and address.  Details of the acceptable forms of ID are shown at the bottom of this page.

Under the current legislation it is an offence to buy scrap metal for cash.  Payments made by cheque must be non-transferable and made out to named persons (i.e. not made out to “Cash”).  Electronic payments are permitted provided that the customer’s identity can be checked. 

Scrap metal dealers are required to keep details of metal received, its disposal, as well as details of the person it was received from. Details of the documents used to verify the name and address of the seller must also be recorded.   

Forms of identity documents

The law requires that dealers buying scrap metal must see proof of identity.  There are two options:

•    The seller can use one of the documents shown in paragraph a) below provided the document shows the person’s full name, photograph and residential address.


•    The seller can use one of the documents in paragraph a) below PLUS a supporting document from paragraph b) which shows the full name and residential address of the seller.

These are the documents referred to above:

a)    A valid UK passport, a valid passport issued by an EEA state, a valid UK photo-card driving licence or a valid UK biometric immigration document.

b)    A bank or building society statement, a credit or debit card statement, a council tax demand or statement, or a utility bill (but not a mobile telephone bill).  These documents should not have been issued more than three months prior to the application being made. 


Application forms and further information