Unregulated sales and purchase of scrap metal has a significant impact on various functioning of social and administrative systems. While the transport and telecommunication sector suffers the most, metal theft is a crime extending to many levels. To cut down the illegal activities, prevent loss due to theft and its consequences, and also to regulate the sales of scrap metal to provide raw material for various industrial demands, the Government came up with a new Scrap Metal Dealers Act (hereafter called “Act”). The Act has repealed the hitherto existing version (1964 Scrap Metal Dealers Act) and also the first part of Vehicles (Crime) Act passed in 2001. Introducing many additional provisions as per the context and modern requirements, this Act extends its effectiveness in fields of itinerant collectors and motor salvage operators as well.
- What constitutes the Scrap metal?
Definition of Scrap Metal, as per the act, is not very specific; yet it leaves little room for any misinterpretation. The act defines “scrap metal” to be:
- any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic material, and
- any product, article or assembly that is made from or contains metal and is broken, worn out or regarded by its last holder as having reached the end of its useful life.
However, it is noteworthy that any metallic article made of gold or silver (either in parts or wholly) does not qualify as a scrap metal. If the metal contains 2% (by weight) gold or silver, the alloy is again a non-scrap.
- Who is a scrap dealer?
"Scrap dealer" is a term that needs meticulous consideration. Any individual or business process can be called scrap dealing when that deals in selling/buying scrap material regardless of whether the metal is sold in parts or as a whole. Also, the Act is applicable when the business is executed in the form of motor salvage operator. However, persons selling scrap only as a by-product of manufactured articles are not included in this definition.
- How to apply for the licence?
To retain their presence in the trade, individuals or business are liable to hold a valid license. The licenses are of two kinds:
- A site license
- A collector’s license
Note: Mobile collectors need to apply for a separate licence for every local area where they operate.
Make sure you qualify for the license. In case you meet the eligibility criteria, your application will be forwarded for a review and will be passed accordingly. One will have to contact the respective local authority and apply for the required license. You should first find your local authority. Contact the respective office and fill the relevant forms. You can see the format of the application form (in word format) here.
- Documents needed to apply for a license
It is understood hence that all operating scrap dealers need to get a license from a competent authority. Whether they work as a scrap buyer or motor salvage operator, they will henceforth, need to have their photo identity and address proof verified. Otherwise they may be subjected to punitive measures mentioned in the Act.
For the purpose of photo ID proof, the following documents are admissible:
- Valid photo driving licence
- Valid passport
- Valid EU National ID card
- Valid EEA passport
- Valid UK Firearm/Shotgun licence
- Valid UK biometric immigration document
In case the above document does not establish a proof of current address, an applicant needs to accompany an additional document in support of his/her candidature. The proof of address must not be more than three months old, the time calculated from the time of receiving the scrap. The following are accepted address proofs:
- Bank statements: Mortgage statement, Credit or debit card statement
- UK Firearm/Shotgun licence
- Bill payment receipts: Utility bills (but not a mobile phone bill), water bill, etc.
- HMRC correspondence
- Council documents: Council rent book/Benefit book, Council tax demand letter or statement, Council/Housing Association Agreement
You can find more guidance and information about the Act and its enforcement concerns here.