Paper and cardboard manufacturing pollution prevention

Paper manufacturing and noise pollution


Paper and cardboard businesses may create noise by:

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

Your activities can also create vibration. Noise nuisance also covers vibration and both are controlled at the same time.

If noise or vibration from your activities causes a nuisance to the surrounding community, your local 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 local 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 local 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 local 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 local council can take enforcement action, such as issuing you with an enforcement notice or a suspension notice for breach of a condition.

Good practice to prevent 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.

Keep external doors and loading bays closed when they are not in use. For example, fit automatic closing devices to help prevent excess noise causing a nuisance to your neighbours.

Chipping and pulping operations can be extremely noisy. If you carry out these activities you should do so in a section of your building that has adequate soundproofing or acoustic dampening to minimise the impact of the noise.

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. Find out how to deal with complaints with our good practice to avoid causing nuisance.

  • NIEA Helpline
    0300 200 7856