New rules for scrap metal dealers come into force

People in Leeds are being warned that new rules for scrap metal traders and collectors come in to force across the country this Sunday.

The new rules means that everyone who collects scrap metal as their main business must have a licence to do so, and those who buy scrap metal cannot pay in cash.

Residents are being advised that if someone comes to collect scrap metal, including old household appliances they should ask to see their collector’s licence. The licence will either be a small card in their windscreen or a photo ID card, both issued by Leeds City Council.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, which has been introduced by the government, means that anyone who collects scrap metal as their main business must be licensed with the council. They also cannot give payments in cash for scrap metal, and will have to either pay by cheque, or by putting the money straight into a bank account.

The new act also means that even if they do not pay for the scrap metal, they will have to take some details like the name and address of the person who gave it to them, so they can prove where the metal came from if they are asked by the police or the council.

For members of the public who want to take scrap metal to a dealer to weigh it in themselves, the dealer will also be required to ask for their name and address and will also not be able to pay in cash for it.

The purpose of these new rules is to prevent metal theft. Over the last few years, metal theft has had a significant impact on communities, businesses and the council. A survey, conducted by the Local Government Association in early 2012, showed that seven out of ten councils had been the victims of metal theft and that this cost councils over £5.25M in 2010/11. In addition metal theft has caused havoc on rail travel, as people steal the copper cable that works the signalling system. Lead has been stripped from buildings, copper wiring taken from building sites and metal gates and monuments have been stolen for scrap.

Councillor Becky Charlwood, chair of the licensing committee said:

“Metals such as copper and lead have a high value and in difficult times, taking and selling metal can be seen as an easy way to make some money. These new rules and stricter penalties for not abiding by them will make it harder to buy and sell metal – and hopefully reduce the amount of criminal behaviour related to metal theft.

“Getting a licence is a simple process and the majority of known traders in the city have already applied. We would encourage anyone who is dealing in the scrap metal trade to contact the licensing department to make sure they can continue trading.”

People who have any questions about this new legislation or to check if someone is licensed can contact the licensing team on 0113 247 4095.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk