Chemical manufacturing pollution prevention

Chemical manufacturing and noise pollution


Chemical manufacturing businesses may create noise in many ways, for example by:

  • operating large processing plant and machinery, eg compressors and vacuum pumps
  • moving raw materials and goods to and from site
  • using vehicles on site, especially if they have reversing alarms

Chemical manufacturing activities can also create vibration.

If noise or vibration from your activities causes a nuisance to the surrounding community, your district council can limit your operations or even stop you from working. They can restrict:

  • the machinery you use
  • your working hours
  • noise levels from your premises

If you have a permit, licence or exemption and you breach noise conditions, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or your district council can take enforcement action against you. If you do not address a noise problem you could face legal action and a fine.

You must comply with any noise conditions set out in the planning approval for your site.

Register your burglar alarms

If your business is located in an alarm notification area you must:

  • register your burglar alarm with your district council
  • provide the details of a person who holds the keys
  • ensure the key holder knows how to use the alarm system

You could be fined if you do not register. Contact your district council to find out if your business is in an alarm notification area.

Protect your employees from loud noise

Loud noise can cause irreversible hearing damage. You must protect your employees' hearing.

Check your permit conditions

If you have a pollution prevention and control permit, a waste management licence or a waste exemption, it may contain conditions that control emissions, such as noise. You must comply with all of the conditions in your permit, licence or exemption. If you don't comply, the NIEA or your district council can take enforcement action against you, such as issuing you with an enforcement notice or a suspension notice for breach of a condition.

Good practice to avoid noise pollution

  • Carry out noisy activities away from areas where noise may cause a nuisance. Position noisy equipment away from your site boundary. You can use existing buildings to shield the noise source.
  • Make sure your buildings have adequate soundproofing. Shutting your doors and windows will also reduce noise. Use solid panelled fencing around your site instead of wire fences. This can help to screen the source and reduce the level of noise from your site.
  • Reduce noise from your equipment and vehicles by servicing them regularly. Consider fitting noise-reducing devices, and when you replace equipment consider buying quieter alternatives.
  • You should regularly monitor noise from your site, when it is fully working and also when it is shut down. This will give you an idea of the impact of your work on noise levels in the surrounding community. Monitoring will also help you identify any change in noise levels. If you are in any doubt about noise levels, you should get advice from a noise expert.
  • Limit noisy activities to daylight hours as noise is more likely to be a nuisance at night.
  • If you operate a night shift, move materials into the work area during the day or early evening. This will reduce the risk of complaints from the local community.
  • If you receive a complaint make sure you deal with it properly.