Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Mechanical finishing equipment

Surface treatment of metals: finishing equipment

Your fabricated metal product business may use equipment to size and remove rough edges from your metal, including:

  • lathes
  • cutting equipment
  • emery belts.

You may also use polishing compounds including synthetic abrasives or limestone in a lubricating media, typically oil or water.

What you must do

Comply with your permit

If you have a permit, licence or exemption you must comply with its conditions. You can be fined or even sent to prison if you do not comply with conditions.

Prevent nuisance

Metal finishing equipment can be noisy and may produce a lot of dust. You may have to take steps to control your noise and dust emissions.

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

Comply with your waste responsibilities

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

  • polishing rags
  • grit blasting materials
  • polishing substances
  • polishing disks.

If your material has hazardous properties, such as used cutting oils and coolants, you may need to deal with it as hazardous/special waste.

Check if you need any discharge consents

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.

Good practice

Reduce your noise and emissions

Keep doors closed in your finishing and polishing areas to contain your equipment's noise and reduce the risk of complaints from your neighbours.

Keep containers of polishing substances closed to prevent them being contaminated by dust from your workshop.

Regularly empty bag filters at your site. Seal the bags when you remove them from the filtration equipment to prevent any light material from blowing around your site.

Be a good operator

Monitor the volume of water your polishing machine uses. Investigate and deal with any unusual increases in your water consumption.

Use the entire width of your polishing disks before you dispose of them. Use disks with the smallest diameter suitable for the job.

Remove masking agents before carrying out polishing to avoid excessive use of material.

Inspect all your items carefully before finishing and polishing so you don't work on obvious rejects.

Send your items for polishing in batches to reduce the running times of your polishing machines.

Establish a planned maintenance routine for your mechanical finishing equipment.

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.

Whats new on NetRegs

  • Waste – Duty of Care Roles and Responsibilities

    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.

    https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/waste-duty-care-responsibilities

  • NetRegs:- FREE, ANONYMOUS, PLAIN ENGLISH GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES

  • EIA (Agriculture) Regulations for Northern Ireland

    Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

    Read more on the DAERA website

  • Guidance from your environmental regulator

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  • 9 NEW GPPs (Guidance for Pollution Prevention) available now

    The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics

  • New guidance

    New guidance for Start-ups, charities and community projects

    http://www.netregs.org.uk/environmental-topics/environmental-management/first-steps-guidance-for-new-starts-projects-and-charities/

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms