Scrap Metal Dealers Act comes into force


The first new legislation for the scrap metal recycling sector has come into force.

From 1 October, the Scrap Metal Dealers Act replaces its 1964 equivalent and introduces a range of new measures including a new licensing system for metal recyclers and removes loopholes on cash trading of metals.


All site based and mobile scrap dealers, including motor salvage operators, must obtain a licence from their local authority in order to continue operating legally.

The licensing authority will need to check the criminal records and suitability of applicants to operate as a scrap metal dealer.

While the cash ban that was introduced under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, is now extended to include all metal dealers such as itinerant traders.

Scrap metal recyclers must also verify and record the identity of those they buy scrap from including asking them to provide photographic identity verification.

British Metals Recycling Association director general Ian Hetherington said: “The implementation of the new Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act is a watershed moment for the industry – it’s an opportunity to rid the industry of the Steptoe and Son stereotype once and for all.

“Metals recycling is a British success story. It contributes £5.6 billion to the economy while increasing the UK’s share of the global market for recycled metals. The industry has led the way in developing sophisticated materials recycling processes and continues to do so by diverting waste metal away from landfill.

“Metals recycling has become increasingly modern and professional in recent years. There are major metals recycling businesses operating on an international scale in Britain which make a significant contribution to our economy and help the UK reach the EU’s environmental recycling and recovery targets.”