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Cambridge City Council

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Scrap metal dealer's licence

You must have a scrap metal dealer’s licence before you can collect or deal in scrap metal. You might also require planning permission and a waste carrier’s licence.

Scrap metal includes aluminium, brass, copper, iron and steel. You do not need a scrap metal dealer’s licence to trade in precious metals such as gold or silver.

You need a licence if your business dismantles vehicles. You do not need one if scrap metal is ancillary to your main trade – for example if you are a plumber, electrician or mechanic.

Scrap metal dealers must keep records from whom and what they are collecting. They cannot buy metal for cash.

site licence allows you to collect scrap metal by appointment only, but it does not allow you to store it. The licence covers the business property, not the location where the scrap metal is stored.

collector’s licence permits you to go door to door asking to collect or buy metal without an appointment. You must display your licence in the vehicle you use to collect scrap metal. You must have a licence issued by us to operate in Cambridge, and it will not be valid outside the city.


To apply for a new or renewed licence, send us an application form and pay the relevant fee.

You must also provide a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. If you are applying to renew a licence, you must provide a copy of your existing licence.

You can pay with a credit or debit card by phone – call us on 01223 457700 to do this.


  • Site licence: £459
  • Collector’s licence: £196
  • Conversion from site licence to collector's licence: £56
  • Conversion from collector’s licence to site licence: £398
  • Addition of site: £459
  • Removal of site: £56
  • Change of site manager: £135
  • Change of licensee name or status: £56
  • Replacement of lost or damage licence: £50

Licensing process

We will discuss your application with the Police, the Environment Agency, and other local authorities, and where relevant we will inspect your sites. We will try to complete your application with 40 days.

If we grant you a licence, you must provide two passport-sized photographs and produce either a driving licence or passport as proof of identity. You must tell us if you change your name or address.

You will be added to the Environment Agency’s register of scrap metal dealers. Your licence will be valid for three years, after which you must apply to renew it.

We can refuse your application if you have been convicted of a relevant offence, such as theft of metal. We can suspend or revoke your licence for the same reason. If we do this we will offer you a hearing at which you can appeal the decision.