Scrap metal licensing

Apply for a site or mobile collector's licence to deal scrap metal in Three Rivers District

Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, you need a licence if you:

  • buy or sell scrap metal (including items containing metal, such as old household goods)
  • recover metal parts from vehicles for reuse or sale
  • buy written-off vehicles for repair and resale

Gold and silver, including alloys with more than 2% gold or silver, are not covered by the Act.

We issue the following types of licences:

  • Site licences for businesses that operate collection yards, metal dealership or scrapyards, offices, storage facilities or industrial units within Three Rivers District. A site licence also allows you to collect metal by appointment and transport it from sites in other areas.
  • Mobile collector’s licences for businesses that collect scrap metal door-to-door in Three Rivers District. This type of licence does not permit you to operate a site.

You can only apply for one type of licence, so please make sure you choose the correct licence for your business when you apply. If the nature of your business changes in the future, you can apply to change your licence.

It is an offence to deal scrap metal without a licence, and you can be given a fine of up to £5,000 if convicted.

Our licences are only valid for Three Rivers District. If you wish to run a metal scrapyard or dealership or collect scrap metal in areas beyond the district, you will need to apply for a licence from the relevant local authority.

Apply for or renew a licence

To apply for or renew an existing licence, download and complete an application form. Send your completed form to and call customer services at 01923 776611 to pay the relevant fee

Scrap metal licence application form (PDF)

You will need to include a scanned copy of a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate issued within the last three months for every applicant, director, partner and site manager named in the application.

The government introduced new tax requirements for new applications and renewals for scrap metal site and mobile collector’s licences in 4 April 2022. Licence holders must provide the Licensing Team with the tax code provided by HMRC following the completion of the tax check. We cannot issue or renew licences until this tax code has been given and authorised.

After we receive your application, we will consider your suitability and consult with the relevant responsible authorities. If your application is successful, we will issue a licence valid for a three-year period.

If we have concerns about your suitability for a licence, we will inform you of our concerns and give you a chance to respond in writing or at a hearing. If your application is subsequently unsuccessful, you can appeal to a magistrate’s court within 21 days of our decision.

Please note that trading is not permitted while your application is being assessed.

Licensee duties

If you are licensed to deal scrap metal, you will need to:

  • notify us of certain events
  • apply to vary your licence if the nature of your business changes
  • keep records of your transactions, which may be inspected from time to time by police or council officers

You must keep a record of:

  • the type of metal you purchase
  • the time and date of the purchase
  • the name and address of the seller or  person acting on behalf of the seller
  • proof of the transaction

If you hold a site licence, you must display a copy of the licence in a prominent location at every site named in the licence. You may also wish to display a copy of your license in your vehicle so you are not mistaken for an unlicensed mobile collector.

If you hold a collector’s licence, you must display a copy of the licence in any vehicle you use to conduct business. If you hold several collector’s licences for different areas, you must ensure you display the correct licence for the area you are collecting in.

Varying a licence

You must apply for a variation of your licence if:

  • the name of a licensee changes (after marriage for example)
  • the address of the site changes
  • additional sites are to be added
  • the site manager changes
  • change from one licence type to another

Please complete the application form and email this to

Scrap metal licence variation application form (PDF)

Applications must be accompanied by the appropriate fee as well as any requested supporting documents.

Public register

View a register of all currently licensed scrap metal sites and collectors in Three Rivers District (PDF). To see metal dealers licensed in other areas, see the Environment Agency's register of all scrap metal dealers licensed by their local authority.

If you suspect a scrap metal dealer may be trading in Three Rivers District without a licence or breaching the terms of their licence, please let us know by emailing

Comments and concerns

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.