VRA has produced a pdf document for anyone that is interested in starting or operating a legitimate vehicle recycling business. It is continually being updated but the contents are set out below.

E-mail us if you'd like a copy:

The aim of this section is to provide some basic help & guidance, in a relatively simple easy to understand way, to anybody interested in becoming a legit car breaker.

This guidance is focused on recyclers that handle scrap vehicles, but most of it also applies to other types of scrap metal operation.

This guidance tries to make the whole process of becoming a legit recycler a little bit easier to understand, but if you need more information you will need to contact the appropriate agency (good luck!).

Failing that, if you need more help (& you can’t get it from your local agency) then you will need a specialised consultant, as we don’t give consultancy advice.

This guidance only covers getting licences – it does not discuss what you need to do to remain legal once you’ve got your authorisations.

We have tried to cover the subject areas for all of the UK & ROI but this is complicated by the fact that legislation is different in each area.


  • About this section
  • Why do car breakers need licences?
  • Am I a business?
  • Do I need a licence?
  • What licences do I need, how do I get one & how long do they last?
  • What is it? How to apply. How much does it cost?
  • Waste Carriers Licence
  • Scrap Metal Dealer Licence
  • Environmental Permit
  • Exemptions
  • Planning permission
  • Environmental permits
  • How to get an environmental permit
  • Transfer
  • New application
  • Environmental permit types
  • Pre-application advice
  • Making a new application
  • Standard Rules Permits
  • Bespoke permits
  • Other information needed for an application
    • Site plan
    • Fire Prevention Plan
    • Technical Competence
    • Management systems
  • Find out how much an application costs
  • Terminology, definitions & abbreviations
  • What are public registers?
  • Reporting a suspected illegal car breaker
E-mail us if you'd like a copy: