We are responsible for regulating businesses in Three Rivers District that deal in scrap metal, including motor salvage.
Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013
, businesses that act wholly or partly as scrap metal dealers will be required to hold licences from us. This includes any business which:
- buys or sells scrap metal, or articles containing metal (irrespective of whether the metal is processed in between), either at a site or through mobile collections
- recovers salvageable parts from motor vehicles, to be reused or sold
- buys written-off vehicles for repair and re-sale
- trades motor vehicles for salvage or recovery purposes
Collecting, buying or selling items for their metal content, such as old household goods or end-of-life vehicles, will also require a scrap metal licence. However, gold and silver (including alloys with more than two per cent gold or silver) are not covered within this Act.
We issue the following types of licence:
- Site licences - for businesses that operate collection yards, offices, storage facilities or industrial units within Three Rivers District. These licences also allow metal to be collected by appointment and transported from sites in other areas.
- Collector's licences - for businesses without sites that wish to collect scrap metal by way of door-to-door visits in Three Rivers District. This licence does not authorise the licensee to operate a site; to do so they will need a site licence.
You can only obtain one type of licence from us so you will have to decide whether you require a site licence or a mobile licence. If the nature of your business changes, you can apply to change the type of licence at a later date.
Our licences are only valid in three Rivers, so if you wish to run sites or collect in several different council areas you will need to apply for licences from every applicable council.
Offence of buying scrap metal for cash
From 1 October 2013, cash cannot be used by any scrap metal dealer to buy scrap metal. It is an offence to buy scrap metal for cash under section 12 of the Act
and there are no exemptions. Only payment by a non-transferable cheque or an electronic transfer of funds will be acceptable. This will mean that the payment will be linked to a readily identifiable account, for both the payee and the payer.
Apply for a licence
You can apply for a scrap metal licence, or to vary a current licence, by printing and completing our application form.
Application for a scrap metal dealer's licence (pdf)
Applications must be accompanied by Basic Disclosure certificates, issued within the last three months, for every applicant, partner, director and site manager named in the application. You can apply for a Basic Disclosure online.
Site licence: £750
Collector's licence: £240
Before we can issue a licence, we must be satisfied that the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence. In making this decision, we will consider any individual applicants, partners, or directors of a limited company, as well as the nominated site managers for any scrap metal sites operating within Three Rivers.
In particular, we will look at:
- whether any person named in the application has been convicted of a relevant offence
- whether any person named in the application has been subject to any relevant enforcement action, by a local council, police, or the Environment Agency
- whether any previous applications for scrap metal licences or environmental permits have been refused
- whether any previous scrap metal licences have been revoked
- whether the applicant has suitable measures in place to ensure compliance with their legal duties, if a licence is granted.
We will consult with police and environmental agencies before determining applications, and take into account any information or comments they provide. We may also take any other relevant information into account, such as complaints from customers or members of the public.
If we are satisfied that the applicant is suitable, we will issue a licence for a three-year period.
If we have any concerns about your suitability as an applicant we will let you know and allow you the opportunity to make representations, either in writing or at a hearing. Any representations will be taken into account before a final decision is made. If your application is refused, you will have a right of appeal to a magistrates' court.
Can I start trading before my application is determined?
Trading during the application period is not permitted. The period will begin upon the receipt of a full and valid application.
Tacit consent does not apply as there is an overriding public interest in ensuring that the suitability of applicants is assessed before the licence is issued.
Duties on licence-holders
Licensed scrap metal dealers are obliged to notify us of certain events, and keep their licences up to date by making variation applications should key details change.
They must also keep records of details of their transactions, which may be inspected from time to time by police or council officers. Information that is required to be recorded includes:
- the type of metal being purchased
- the time/date of the transaction
- personal information on the seller
- who is acting on behalf of the dealer
- proof of the non-cash transaction
A Site Licence holder must display a copy of the licence in a prominent place that is accessible to the public, at each site identified in the licence (section 10 (1)(2)). A scrap metal dealer who holds a collectors licence must display a copy of the licence on any vehicle that is being used the course of the dealers business so as to be read easily by a person outside the vehicle (section 19 (3)(4)). It is an offence not to do this.
A Site Licence holder may wish to carry a copy of the relevant site licence in their vehicle so they are not mistaken for an unlicensed mobile collector. However there is no legal requirement to do this.
If a mobile collector holds several scrap metal licences, they must ensure that the correct licence is displayed when collecting in the relevant licensing council area. Failure to do so is an offence.
Comments and complaints
If you have any comments or complaints about a scrap metal dealer in Three Rivers, we would advise that you first contact the trader direct. The best way to do this is by sending a letter with proof of delivery.
If you believe that a scrap metal dealer is trading in Three Rivers without a licence, or is breaching their licence, please contact us with the details and we will investigate.
If you need more information on scrap metal licences, or you wish to report an unlicensed scrap metal dealer or a dealer breaching a licence, please contact us: