Your business will use various techniques and equipment to cut and shape fabricated metal products, such as slitting, cutting, forming, bending, machining, pressing, punching, drawing, milling and welding.

What you must do

Comply with your permit

If you have a permit, licence or registered exemption you must comply with its conditions. Your permit may contain conditions that control your noise, vibration, or dust emissions. You can be fined or even sent to prison if you do not comply with conditions.

Prevent nuisance

Your metal fabrication operations could cause odour and noise problems. You may produce odour from welding gases and cutting oils. You may produce noise by:

  • moving materials
  • edge milling
  • bending
  • drawing
  • drop and hydraulic pressing.

If your process creates levels of noise, dust, grit, fumes or smoke that could cause a nuisance or harm the health of the surrounding community, your local council can issue an abatement notice that:

  • requires you to reduce the nuisance
  • bans or restricts the nuisance
  • requires you to carry out work or take other steps to reduce or stop the nuisance.

Anyone who is affected by the nuisance, such as your neighbours, can apply to the court in Northern Ireland or sheriff in Scotland to issue you with an abatement notice.

You can be fined if you do not comply with an abatement notice, and the local council can take steps to stop the nuisance itself and charge you for its costs.

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Check if you need any discharge consents

When you make up metal-cutting fluids, top up cooling fluids or use direct water cooling, do not discharge to public sewers, surface waters or ground waters without consulting your regulator. You may need a discharge consent or other authorisation. For further information, see our guidance on discharges to water and sewer.

Store your pesticides correctly

You must store any pesticides, such as fungicides and anti-bacterial agents, in a locked, bunded area that can contain 110% of the volume of pesticide you store.

If you store pesticides in a sensitive area, such as a groundwater protection zone or upstream of a water supply catchment, your bund must be able to contain 185% of the volume of pesticide you store. For further information, see our guidance on pesticides and biocides.

Store your oil correctly

If you store oil you may need to comply with the Oil Storage Regulations. For further information, see our guidance on oil storage.

Comply with your waste responsibilities

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when you manage your waste. Your metal fabricating operations will produce waste materials, including:

  • swarf
  • scarfed material
  • spent welding rods and fluxes
  • slag
  • spent greases and oil filters
  • ''bottom' sludges.

You may need to deal with some of your waste as hazardous/special waste, including:

  • swarf
  • used oil emulsions and filters
  • ispentisocyanate polystyrene adhesive
  • used greases
  • sludges.

For further information, see our guidance on hazardous/special waste.

Good practice

Reduce your emissions

  • Filter exhaust gases from your welding and milling stations before you release them to the air.
  • Check the condition of your machine gaskets and seals regularly. Replace worn and cracked seals to reduce your air emissions.
  • Check the emissions and noise levels emitted by your ventilation system. Regularly replace filters.

Manage swarf waste

  • If you produce large quantities of swarf you should consider using a centrifuge, in addition to gravity drainage, to separate swarf from your cutting fluid. This can reduce your waste management costs.
  • Clean swarf from your machines each time you start work on a different metal.
  • Segregate different types of swarf. Use labelled, colour-coded bins to help your staff segregate swarf.
  • Position your swarf skips in a covered, bunded area to minimise contamination with rainwater. This will reduce your processing costs and the possibility of your oil sumps overflowing and causing a pollution incident.

Use resources efficiently

  • Only store enough pesticide for your immediate use.
  • Avoid unnecessary edge milling and waste by ordering your materials as close as possible to the final size you require.
  • Use non-chlorinated cutting fluids for all your applications, especially where you can recycle the scrap material.
  • Use de-ionised water to make up cutting fluids so you can replace fluid less often.
  • Monitor the condition of your cutting fluids to avoid replacing them unnecessarily.

Be a good neighbour

  • Speak to your neighbours regularly about any issues with noise or other nuisances at your site.
  • If you receive any complaints about noise or other nuisances deal with them quickly.
  • Record the results of investigations into complaints and anything you do to correct the problem.
Return to the menu of the Materials used by metal fabrication and finishing businesses environmental topic