Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

More metal fabrication topics

More metal fabrication guidance in alphabetical order

Additional resources

   

You may use adhesives to glue components together when you assemble metal products.

If you use adhesives you must control your odour and solvent emissions.

Solvent emissions

Noise, odour and other nuisances

What you must do

Comply with your permit, licence or exemption

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

Comply with your waste responsibilities

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when you use or handle waste adhesives and adhesive containers.

If you use adhesives that contain organic solvents or 'two-pack' fixatives you must comply with any relevant hazardous/special waste controls.

Good practice

Keep adhesives that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in sealed containers to reduce your site's odour emissions.

Store your adhesives in a locked, bunded area away from direct sunlight.

If you spill adhesives, use absorbent or adsorbent granules to clean up the spill. Do not wash down your site where adhesives containing VOCs have been spilt.

Ask your suppliers if they can supply you with adhesives that do not contain VOCs.

Only pour out the amount of adhesive you require for each assembly shift to avoid waste.

This guidance is relevant if you manufacture small arms.

What is bluing?

Bluing is a technique that prevents the steel parts of a gun from corroding.

Chemical hot caustic bluing is the main method used in UK small arms manufacture. It involves cleaning the steel and placing it into:

  1. a treatment tank with a solution of ammonium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrite and water heated at around 300°C
  2. a boiling water bath to remove bluing salts
  3. an oil finishing bath.

What you must do

Comply with your permit, licence or exemption

If you produce explosives you must have an environmental permit or pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit.

Explosives

If you have a permit, licence or exemption you must comply with its conditions, including any conditions about using chemicals or carrying out your treatment processes. If you do not comply with conditions you can be fined or even sent to prison.

Prevent nuisance

If you mix ammonium nitrate solutions you will produce ammonia gas, which has a very strong odour.If your activities create odours that disturb your neighbours, your local council can issue you with an abatement notice that:

  • requires you to reduce the nuisance
  • stops or places restrictions on your operations
  • requires you to carry out work or take other steps to reduce or stop the nuisance from recurring.

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

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

For further information on nuisance, see our guidance on noise, odour and other nuisances.

Check if you need any permits, consents or other authorisations to discharge water

Do not discharge to public sewers, surface waters or groundwater without consulting your regulator. You may need a discharge consent, groundwater authorisation or other authorisation. For further information, see our guidance on discharges to water and sewer.

Comply with your waste responsibilities

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

You may need to deal with substances from your bluing baths as hazardous/special waste because they have corrosive and irritant properties or are contaminated with heavy metals.

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

Good practice

Prevent spills at your site

Install splash guards, drip trays and bunds around bluing baths and treatment areas to contain any leaks or spills at your site.

Mop up any spills rather than rinsing them down to reduce the volume of wastewater you produce.

Mix solutions of ammonium nitrate and sodium hydroxide very slowly to avoid the mixture boiling over the top of the treatment vessel.

Reduce your emissions

Use extraction equipment to remove fumes from your work area and service your extraction system regularly.

Use de-ionised water instead of tap water to make up your bluing solution as this will produce less sludge.

De-water tank bottom sludges to reduce the volume of waste that you produce.

Cover your treatment baths when they are not in use to reduce evaporation.

Use polypropylene balls or chroffles to cover your heated tanks as this will reduce your energy consumption and emissions.

Air pollution from machinery or electrical equipment businesses

You must not make any discharge to surface water or groundwater without consulting your environmental regulator. If you discharge without an authorisation, permit or consent from your environmental regulator you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Preventing water pollution

You must not discharge trade effluent to a public sewer without trade effluent consent or a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage company or authority. If you discharge without a consent or agreement you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Trade effluent - discharges to sewers

If you store oil you must comply with the requirements of the Oil Storage Regulations.

Oil storage

You must comply with your Duty of Care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

If the material that you are handling has hazardous properties, you may need to deal with it as hazardous/special waste. Chemical bluing tanks produce potentially hazardous liquid wastes that may have corrosive and irritant properties or be contaminated with heavy metals.

Hazardous / special waste

If you supply a potentially hazardous chemical, you may have to provide a safety data sheet (SDS). The SDS tells the user how to handle, store and dispose of hazardous chemicals.

For guidance about when to provide an SDS and what it should include, see the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) leaflet.

HSE: REACH and safety data sheets (Adobe PDF - 111KB)

If you don't receive an SDS with a chemical, you can contact the supplier and ask for one. Suppliers who do not provide adequate instructions for using their products safely may be breaking the law.

Good practice

  • Mixing ammonium nitrate and sodium hydroxide releases heat. Mix the solution very slowly to avoid the mixture boiling over the top of the treatment vessel.
  • Ensure that your extraction system is regularly serviced.
  • Chemical fume suppressants that reduce or control misting by reducing the surface tension of the bath are available for certain applications. You should only normally use such suppressants in conjunction with another emission control technique, such as lip extraction.
  • Cover treatment baths when they are not in use to reduce evaporative losses.
  • Clearly label all rinse and treatment baths to ensure your employees can easily identify each.
  • Contain leaks and spills by installing splash guards and drip trays around baths.
  • If there is a spill, mop it up rather than rinsing it down. This will reduce the volume of wastewater produced.
  • The average drain time for manual lines is around three seconds. Drain times of 10 seconds or more can reduce drag-out by more than 40%. Establish and record procedures that specify drain time and rinse methods. Train and regularly audit your staff to ensure that they consistently use the appropriate procedure.
  • Agitate rinse baths (manually or by air agitation) to promote better rinsing.
  • Use polypropylene balls (chroffles) on heated tanks to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
  • Cover your tanks when they are not in use to reduce emissions to air.
  • Have your waste oil laundered or refined and returned to you.
  • To reduce sludge generation, use de-ionised water instead of tap water to make up your bluing solution.
  • De-water tank bottom sludges to cut the volume of waste that you produce and your waste management charges.
  • Bund all your treatment tanks, or the area of the shop floor that holds the treatment tanks. This will reduce the risk of spills contaminating land or water.

Your fabricated metal product business may use solvents to remove grease and oil. You can apply solvents using rags, vapour or immersion degreasing baths.

If your business carries out vapour degreasing you will use chlorinated solvents, including:

  • trichloroethylene (trike)
  • methylene chloride
  • n-propyl bromide (stabilised)
  • perchloroethylene.

Organic solvents can have a significant impact on air quality.

What you must do

Comply with conditions in your permit

If you have a permit, licence or exemption you must comply with its conditions, including any conditions about solvent emissions or other air emissions.

Do not use ozone depleting substances (ODS)

You must not use ozone depleting substances for most degreasing or solvent applications, including:

  • hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • 1,1,1 trichloroethane
  • bromochloromethane (CBM)
  • carbon tetrachloride.

Some vapour degreasing baths use banks of refrigerant-filled coils in the condensing zone. If you use F-gases or have old equipment with ODS you must make sure that your staff or contractors who service and repair refrigeration equipment comply with the controls on F-Gases and ozone depleting substances.

Comply with your waste responsibilities

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

You may need to deal with the following materials and substances as hazardous/special waste:

  • degreasing solvent
  • sump contamination (still bottoms)
  • soiled, solvent-impregnated rags
  • water collected in water and solvent separators.

For further information, see our guidance on 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

Use less hazardous products and techniques

Trike is classified as a category two carcinogen. If you use Trike you should try to replace it with a less harmful alternative.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE): Solvent vapour degreasing plant

Reduce your solvent use and losses

Choose a closed-top system when you replace your equipment as it will reduce your solvent consumption and energy use.

To avoid excessive solvent loss, locate your vapour degreasing machines away from draughts from doors, windows and heating.

Use slow, controlled withdrawal rates when removing components from your degreasing baths. This will reduce solvent loss.

Put lids on your solvent containers when you are not using them to reduce solvent loss. Fit your lids below the exhaust extraction slots.

Consider fitting lids to any open-top degreasing baths. Fit your lids in the free-board zone.

Control your lip extraction rates to ensure your staff are safe and to prevent excessive loss of solvent.

Jig the work so that the solvent drains freely from the piece that has been cleaned.

Use 'squeeze' type bottles for transferring solvent onto rags.

Manage your solvent waste and prevent contamination

Do not mix different waste solvents as this could be dangerous and prevent your solvents from being reclaimed.

Consider laundering and reusing the rags you use for surface cleaning.

Monitor the boiling temperature of your vapour degreasing bath. Heavily contaminated solvents have higher boiling points. This indicates tha you need to change your solvent.

Reduce the risk of spillage and land contamination by filling your degreasing systems from fixed pipework lines.

Solvents are commonly used to remove grease and oil. They can be applied using rags, vapour or immersion degreasing baths. Vapour degreasing uses chlorinated solvents, including:

  • trichloroethylene (Trike)
  • methylene chloride
  • Epn-propyl bromide (stabilised)
  • perchloroethylene.

What you must do

Organic solvent degreasing activities can have a significant impact on air quality. You may have to take steps to prevent air pollution.

Preventing air pollution

Check whether you are affected by controls on solvent emissions.

Solvent emissions

In most circumstances, you must not use ozone depleting substances for any degreasing or solvent application, including:

  • hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • 1 t,1,1trichloroethane
  • bromochloromethane (CBM)
  • carbon tetrachloride.

Some vapour degreasing baths use banks of refrigerant-filled coils in the condensing zone. If you use F-gases or have old equipment containing ozone depleting substances, you must make sure that staff and contractors who service and repair refrigeration equipment comply with the controls on these substances.

Ozone-depleting substances and fluorinated gases

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

You may need to deal with the following materials and substances as hazardous/special waste:

  • degreasing solvent
  • sump contamination (still bottoms)
  • soiled, solvent-impregnated rags
  • water collected in water and solvent separators.

Hazardous / special waste

Ensure that you do not make any discharge to public sewers, surface waters or groundwater without consulting the appropriate regulator. To make a discharge without the appropriate permission may be an offence and could lead to enforcement action.

Trade effluent - discharges to sewers

Preventing water pollution

Good practice

Trike is classified as a category 2 carcinogen. You should aim to replace Trike with a less harmful alternative.

Health and Safety Executive Solvent vapour degreasing plant

  • You do not need to use organic solvent degreasing techniques if this is followed by an aqueous process.
  • Locate your vapour degreasing machines away from draughts (doors, windows, heating, busy passages, etc) to avoid excessive solvent loss.
  • Use slow, controlled withdrawal rates when removing components from your degreasing baths. This will reduce solvent loss.
  • To reduce solvent loss, put lids on your solvent containers when you are not using them. Fit lids below the exhaust extraction slots.
  • Consider fitting lids to any open-top degreasing baths. Fit lids in the free-board zone.
  • When replacing your equipment, choose a closed-top system as it reduces solvent consumption and energy used to heat the solvent.
  • Carefully control your lip extraction rates to ensure adequate protection for staff and to prevent excessive loss of solvent.
  • Jig the work so that the solvent drains freely from the piece that has been cleaned.
  • Use 'squeeze' type bottles for transferring solvent onto rags.
  • Do not mix different waste solvents as this could be dangerous and prevent solvents from being reclaimed.
  • Consider laundering and reusing rags you use for surface cleaning.
  • Carefully monitor the boiling temperature of your vapour degreasing bath. Heavily contaminated solvents have increased boiling points. This indicates that you need to change your solvent.
  • Ensure that all seals work properly when you replace the sump on vapour degreasing equipment.
  • Reduce the risk of spillage and land contamination by filling your degreasing systems from fixed pipework lines.

You can apply wet slip enamel to metal surfaces by:

  • dipping
  • air-assisted spraying
  • wet electrostatic spraying using air-assisted and rotary atomisers
  • electrophoretic deposition.

Powder enamel is always applied using electrostatic equipment. Spray systems may be automated or manual.

What you must do

Dry application methods can create dust, especially if you pour dry, ground enamel through a vibrating screen. You may need to take measures to control dust on your premises.

Air quality

In the spraying process, you may produce waste water from slip applications, wetback spraying booths and cleaning activities.

You must not make any discharge to surface water or groundwater without consulting your environmental regulator. If you discharge without an authorisation, permit or consent from your environmental regulator you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Preventing water pollution

You must not discharge trade effluent to a public sewer without trade effluent consent or a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage company or authority. If you discharge without a consent or agreement you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Trade effluent - discharges to sewers

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Controls have been introduced to limit the sulphur content of fuels. You must not use gas oil with a sulphur content exceeding 0.1% by mass.

You must not use heavy fuel oil with a sulphur content exceeding 1% by mass. This is particularly relevant if you have stocks of stand-by fuel that can remain unchanged for considerable periods of time. If you operate pre-1987 combustion plant you can apply for a Sulphur Content of Liquid Fuels Permit from your local council in Northern Ireland or SEPA in Scotland.

Good practice

  • Leave extraction and abatement equipment running when you clean your application booths. This will reduce air pollution.
  • Clean up any spillages as quickly as possible. If the material is dry, use vacuum-cleaning techniques instead of washing-down techniques. This will avoid water pollution and water use.
  • Mask off empty positions on jigs to reduce the amount of cleaning required.

Jigging equipment

  • Ensure that your compressors are sited where there is a free flow of cool air. This will reduce energy consumption, condensate production and water evaporation in the slip.
  • Reduce cleaning by batching items and colours. Minimise colour changes and coat from light to dark enamels.
  • Use strippable booth coatings for easier cleaning of the spray booth.
  • Wipe your spraying equipment clean before washing.
  • Use automated gun washing machines to reduce your water consumption.
  • Carefully inspect components to avoid coating obvious rejects.
  • Rotate items when removing them from dipping baths. This helps achieve an even coating and reduces drag-out.
  • Allow sufficient drain-out time when inverting enamelled items. This improves materials efficiency and removes excess enamel.
  • With any spraying technique there will be some over-spray. Keep your spraying booths clean so that the over-spray can be recycled.
  • For manual spraying operations, ensure that your staff are trained in the correct techniques.
  • Regularly measure over-spray.
  • For automatic spraying operations, regularly evaluate spray patterns to ensure that the process is running efficiently.
  • Use electrostatic spraying techniques. These produce lower levels of over-spray as the charged particles are attracted to the item to be coated.

Enamel slip is a dry powder mixture that is suitable for applying to a metal surface. Slip is created by milling raw materials into powder in a ball mill that contains porcelain-grinding materials. The raw materials may include enamel frit (vitreous glass granules), water, clays, pigments and electrolytes.

What you must do

Dry milling and the addition of frit to wet milling operations can be noisy and create substantial quantities of dust. You may need to take measures to control noise and dust from your premises.

Air quality

Noise and vibration

Ball milling can produce liquid wastes in the form of mill room washings and cooling water.

You must not make any discharge to surface water or groundwater without consulting your environmental regulator. If you discharge without an authorisation, permit or consent from your environmental regulator you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Preventing water pollution

You must not discharge trade effluent to a public sewer without trade effluent consent or a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage company or authority. If you discharge without a consent or agreement you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Controls have been introduced to limit the sulphur content of fuels. You must not use gas oil with a sulphur content exceeding 0.1% by mass.

You must not use heavy fuel oil with a sulphur content exceeding 1% by mass. This is particularly relevant if you have stocks of stand-by fuel that can remain unchanged for considerable periods of time. If you operate pre-1987 combustion plant you can apply for a Sulphur Content of Liquid Fuels Permit from your local council in Northern Ireland or SEPA in Scotland.

Good practice

  • Store empty packaging and collected dusts in sealed containers.
  • Locate milling operations away from your site boundaries to avoid causing a nuisance.
  • Limit milling to daylight hours. Any noise you make at night is more likely to be a nuisance than during the day.
  • Consider using pre-packaged and pre-weighed ingredients kits. This should lead to efficient use of materials.
  • In some areas, your water company or authority will have zero discharge limits for certain metals, eg cadmium, lead and nickel. If your effluent treatment system cannot achieve the required limits and your business is located in such an area, you should use tankers to take your water off-site for treatment.
  • Water that has been used for cooling can be reused in rinse baths and washing activities.
  • Provide accurate measuring vessels for slip ingredients.
  • Use funnels to add mixtures to the ball mill. This will reduce the risk of spillage.
  • Regularly investigate alternatives to enamels that contain hazardous metals such as cadmium and lead. Eliminating these substances from your waste can reduce your waste management costs.
  • Work with your waste contractor to find out if mill room washings should be handled as hazardous/special waste. If you change your colour ranges, reassess whether the waste needs to be handled as hazardous/special waste.
  • Segregate cadmium-bearing waste from general waste. This allows you to treat and recover or dispose of this waste separately. Consider using dedicated mills for enamels that contain cadmium.
  • To reduce waste, carefully estimate the amount of slip you require.

This guidance is relevant if your machinery or electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) business manufactures, stores or disposes of explosives.

What you must do

Check if you need a permit, licence or exemption

If you produce explosives you must have a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit under part A.

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

Check if COMAH applies to your business

If you manufacture or store explosives you should check if your site is regulated by the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations.

Find out if COMAH applies to your business in our COMAH guidance

Comply with health and safety requirements

If you manufacture or store explosives you must comply with health and safety licensing and registration requirements.

If you dispose of explosive waste, you must comply with special health and safety requirements. You cannot send explosives to landfill or dump them at sea.

For further information, contact the HSE in Scotland or the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.

HSE: Explosives

HSE: Explosives disposal

HSE Northern Ireland: Code of practice and guidance document on manufacture and storage of explosives in Northern Ireland (Adobe PDF - 1.69MB)

After the surface of the item to be galvanised has been prepared by degreasing and acid pickling, it is immersed in a fluxing bath. The bath usually contains a solution of zinc ammonium chloride which prevents oxidation and increases zinc 'wetting'. The coated steel is then dried, either at ambient temperature or using the exhaust gases from the molten zinc bath.

What you must do

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

You must not make any discharge to surface water or groundwater without consulting your environmental regulator. If you discharge without an authorisation, permit or consent from your environmental regulator you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Water pollution

You must not discharge trade effluent to a public sewer without trade effluent consent or a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage company or authority. If you discharge without a consent or agreement you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Trade effluent - discharges to sewers

The zinc ammonium chloride baths need to be periodically drained and replaced. Spent flux has hazardous properties that mean you will need to deal with it as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

Good practice

Use heat recovered from the zinc bath to raise the temperature of the fluxing baths.

Insulate the fluxing baths to reduce the amount of energy you need.

Cover the fluxing bath when it is not in use to reduce evaporation.

Ensure that the article is adequately dried after fluxing to prevent zinc splattering and poor surface finish at the galvanising stage.

Your fabricated metal product business may use galvanising baths to coat your metal products with a layer of zinc.

Zinc reacts with the metal, usually steel, in the galvanising bath to form a series of iron-zinc alloy layers. This produces a thick coating that makes your metal resistant to corrosion, impact and abrasion.

What you must do

Comply with conditions in your permit

If you have a permit, licence or registered exemption you must comply with its conditions. Your permit may contain conditions which control the quantity and concentration of your air emissions.

You may need to reduce your emissions to meet the limits in your permit. You can be fined or even sent to prison if you do not comply with conditions.

Comply with your waste responsibilities

Your galvanising operations could produce a number of different waste materials, including:

  • 'galvanisers' ash
  • dross from the base of the galvanising bath
  • dust from the bag filtration plant.

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when you deal with your waste.

Check if you need any discharge consents

Do not discharge anything 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

Prevent dust and fumes

Minimise handling of dusty materials and cover your containers.

Dip materials in protective enclosures and turn on your extraction fans.

Service your abatement equipment regularly and clean your chimneys to prevent deposits building up.

Introduce reworked ashes to the bath in a way that will minimise your fumes, for example underneath the molten zinc surface via a screw feed.

Keep galvanisers' ashes and drosses dry at all times to avoid the production of arsine gas.

Minimise your waste

Set up work procedures to recover as much zinc as possible from reworking of galvanisers' ash.

Reprocess your drosses and zinc ashes that are not suitable for reintroduction to the galvanising bath. You could reprocess them back into refined metal or other products such as fertilisers and tyres.

Monitor the ash and dross you produce to evaluate the level of contamination that reaches your zinc bath.

Be a good neighbour

Speak to your neighbours regularly about any issues with dust or fumes at your site.

If you receive any complaints about air emissions deal with them quickly.

Record the results of investigations into complaints and anything you do to correct the problem.

Your fabricated metal product business may use jigging equipment for metal plating.

Jigging-up is the process of putting your items onto the jig. De-jigging involves removing your items from the coating frame or jig.

You may use alkaline agents such as hydrogen peroxide to strip items, followed by acid stripping agents such as nitric acid.

What you must do

Check if you need a permit

Check with your environmental regulator to see if you need a permit, licence or registered exemption for your operations. For example, if you remove lead chromate paints from jigs by burning or use a furnace to remove paint residues, you may need a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit, waste management licence or registered exemption.

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

Contact your environmental regulator

Pollution prevention and control permits

Prevent nuisance

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.

Comply with your waste responsibilities

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when you manage your waste, such as spent jigging wire.

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Good practice

Reduce your noise emissions

Secure items before you de-jig them to reduce your noise emissions.

Use jigs inside your building and close your doors.

Avoid using jigs early in the morning or late in the evening to reduce the likelihood of noise complaints.

Be a good operator

Inspect your goods carefully when jigging-up to avoid plating obvious rejects.

Use jigs without flat areas and hollows. This will reduce drag-out.

Reduce tank contamination and sludge production by masking or 'stopping off' areas on the jig that you are not using.

Separate jigging wire from your general waste. You can send it to a metal recycler, but you must check that they hold the appropriate licence or registered exemption, to ensure you comply with your duty of care responsibilities. If you separate and sort your waste you could reduce your waste management charges.

Inspect your jigs regularly. Clean the jigs if you have problems with colour cross-contamination or earthing.

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.

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.

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.

This guidance is relevant if your business uses thermal spraying processes for metallic coatings. Thermal spraying uses gases or compressed air to propel heated metal powder towards the component to be coated.

After you have applied the metal powder, you can seal the surface of your component with another coating. Your second coating is usually solvent based.

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 controlling your noise, odour or air emissions. You can be fined or even sent to prison if you do not comply with conditions.

You must also comply with controls on solvent emissions. For further information, see our guidance on solvent emissions.

Prevent nuisance

Your metallic coating activities could cause significant levels of noise from thermal spraying and odour from using solvents. You may have to control noise and odour from your premises.

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.

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

  • organic solvent paint, containers and thinners
  • some metal powders, eg aluminium
  • 'wet-back' extraction booth water
  • air extraction unit filters
  • scrubber blow down liquids.

For more information, see our guidance on 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 emissions

Store your powders, especially aluminium powder, in a dry storage area to prevent powders emitting toxic arsine gas if they become damp.

Control your dust emissions by ensuring that your equipment amperage and gas supply are set up to achieve efficient deposition.

Use extraction ducts to prevent dust from accumulating in your pipes.

Store extracted dust in covered containers.

Maintain your abatement equipment regularly to make sure it works efficiently.

Control hazards at your site

Vacuum clean your spraying booths regularly, using a spark-free system to reduce the risk of explosions.

Read the information on the safety data sheets of all metal powders before you apply them because many powders are flammable.

Take care when you spray aluminium because some forms are explosive and flammable.

Ensure you have good airflow through your production and working environment. Monitor this regularly using airflow measurement equipment.

Use your resources efficiently

If you have large amounts of metal overspray you may be able to recycle it.

Inspect your items before you coat them to avoid wasting coating material on obvious rejects.

Reduce your solvent consumption by wiping excess coating material from your spray guns before you clean them.

Mop up rather than washing down your spills. This will reduce your water use and the risk of water pollution.

Ensure that you fully drain paint cans before you send them for recovery or disposal.

Mask off empty positions on your jigs to reduce the amount of cleaning required.

Be a good neighbour

Speak to your neighbours regularly about any issues with noise, odour or other nuisances at your site.

If you receive any complaints about noise, odour or other nuisances deal with them quickly.

Record the results of investigations into complaints and anything you do to correct the problem.

Before you apply single-coat white enamel ('direct-on white enamelling'), you must prepare the surface with a nickel coating (nickel flash) to ensure a good enamel bond. You can normally achieve this by dipping the item to be enamelled into a hot solution of acidified nickel sulphate. Metallic nickel is often deposited by ion replacement but alternative processes are available.

After rinsing, the surface is passivated (made unreactive) in a hot alkaline solution. This neutralises the acid residues and prevents rusting.

What you must do

In the nickel sulphate baths, significant quantities of iron hydroxide are formed. It is filtered out of the bath on a continuous basis.

You must not make any discharge to surface water or groundwater without consulting your environmental regulator. If you discharge without an authorisation, permit or consent from your environmental regulator you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Preventing water pollution

You must not discharge trade effluent to a public sewer without trade effluent consent or a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage company or authority. If you discharge without a consent or agreement you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Spent nickel sulphate solutions are acidic and you may need to deal with them as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

Good practice

  • Reduce your waste management charges by de-watering sludges.
  • Install splash guards and drip trays around baths to contain leaks and spills.
  • If there is a spill, mop it up rather than rinsing it down. This will reduce the volume of wastewater you produce.
  • Allow sufficient drain times to reduce drag-out.

This guidance is relevant if your business applies non-metallic coatings to metal surfaces, such as paint, powder coat and industrial coatings.

You can apply coatings in a number of ways including spraying, dipping and brushing. After you apply the coating you can cure, bake or stove your material.

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 controlling your noise, odour or other air emissions. You can be fined or even sent to prison if you do not comply with conditions.

You must also comply with controls on solvent emissions. For further information, see our guidance on solvent emissions.

Prevent nuisance

Your non-metallic coating activities can cause significant noise and odour emissions.

If your process creates levels of noise or odour 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.

You may need to deal with some of your waste produced by painting and non-metallic coating processes as hazardous/special waste, including:

  • organic solvent paint, containers and thinners
  • some powder coats, eg triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC)
  • paint that contains heavy metals, eg lead chromates
  • iwasteisocyanates
  • wet back (water curtain) extraction booths and their effluent
  • air extraction unit filters
  • scrubber blow down liquids.

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

Check if you have radioactive sources

If your equipment uses radioactive sources you must have a certificate of registration or be covered by an exemption order. For example, some spray systems use a radioactive source to eliminate static. For further information, see our guidance on radioactive materials

Check if you need any discharge consents

Do not discharge anything to public sewers, surface waters or ground waters without consulting your regulator. You may need a discharge consent or other authorisation. For more information, see our guidance on discharges to water and sewer

Good practice

Choose your materials and equipment carefully

Consider using water-borne or powder coatings in place of solvent-borne coatings. Powder coatings will not emit volatile organic compounds. If you keep your spraying area immaculately clean, you can reuse any overspray. Powder coating does use more energy than solvent-borne coatings at the curing stage.

If you apply solvent-borne coatings, use those with high solids content rather than those with low solids content. This will make your process more efficient.

Avoid using primers and paints that contain lead.

Consider using closed-loop gun-cleaning stations as they will capture thinner or solvent shot through the gun and condense it. You can then reuse the thinner or solvent instead of venting it to the atmosphere. This will reduce your air emissions.

Avoid causing pollution

Store your coatings and waste containers in bunded areas to avoid causing water pollution.

Use funnels when you decant liquids to reduce the risk of spillages.

Cover all lightweight material, such as powders, at your site to prevent it from blowing around and causing a nuisance.

Clearly label your waste solvent containers. Do not mix waste oil with waste solvent.

Control hazards at your site

Store your flammable liquids separately from oxidising agents, strong acids and alkalines.

Ensure you have good airflow through your production and working environment. Monitor this regularly using airflow measurement equipment.

Use your resources efficiently

Keep your coating areas clean to reduce rework caused by surface contamination.

Replace lids on your coating containers to reduce evaporation.

Recover and reuse powder coat where possible.

Train your staff to reduce over-spray. Adjust the spray pattern so that it is appropriate for the component you are coating.

Use electrostatic spraying techniques as they have lower levels of over-spray.

Use high volume, low pressure (HVLP) paint guns to coat more efficiently.

Reduce your solvent consumption by wiping excess coating material from spray guns before you clean them. Flush guns with 'dirty' solvent first.

Schedule your coating work from light to dark colours to reduce the need for cleaning your equipment between colour changeovers.

Use less water by using automated gun washing machines.

Mask off empty positions on your jigs to reduce the amount of cleaning required.

Inspect surfaces carefully to avoid coating obvious rejects.

Drain your coating containers fully before you recover or dispose of them.

If you use sand for metal casting, you will create dust from handling and storing it. Sand that you have used for casting may also be contaminated with metal or with chemicals used to bind it for the cast.

Avoid causing air and noise pollution

You must ensure that using sand does not cause air pollution. You must also not cause noise pollution from deliveries or handling of sand on your site.

Air quality

Deal with hazardous waste safely

Sands you use to produce castings made from certain non-ferrous metals may have hazardous properties, due to them containing toxic material such as:

  • aluminium lead cadmium copper arsenic
  • sand treatment chemicals

If the sand you use has hazardous properties, you may need to deal with it as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste

Good practice

You should:

  • reclaim sand to save money and to reduce the amount of waste you produce
  • practise good housekeeping techniques, such as keeping building doors closed to contain noise from sand reclamation operations
  • regularly maintain your extraction system to ensure it works efficiently
  • keep reclaimed sand in sealed storage areas or silos to prevent it causing air pollution
  • cover sand when you transport it to reduce dust
  • The construction industry may be able to recycle waste sand that you cannot reuse in the foundry. It can be used in the production of cement, asphalt and concrete blocks.

Ask your trade association for further information. Find information on trade associations on the Trade Association Forum website

The Waste and resources action programme has produced guidance on using sand in foundries.

WRAP: Using and reclaiming foundry greensand

This guidance is relevant if your business uses scrap metal in manufacturing or assembling machinery or electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).

What you must do

Check if you need a permit, licence or exemption

If you store, treat, recover or dispose of waste scrap metal, you may need a pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or registered exemption. Some waste activities are exempt from licensing. For example, you may need to register a waste exemption with your environmental regulator to use contaminated scrap.

In Scotland, clean scrap metal off-cuts from metal manufacturing processes are considered to be a by-product rather than waste in some circumstances. Read the SEPA position statement to find out if waste regulation controls apply to your scrap metal off-cuts.

SEPA: Regulatory position statement on clean scrap metal offcuts (Adobe PDF - 161KB)

Check if your scrap metal is contaminated or hazardous

Examine all scrap material you buy or use to check if it is contaminated or hazardous.

Contaminants include radioactive materials, plastic, rubber and oil. For information on how to check for radioactive sources, see our guidance on radioactive substances.

Some of your scrap metal may be classed as hazardous/special waste. For example, metal in waste oil filters, spent battery casings, metal containers with hazardous contents or mercury in fluorescent tubes.

You must comply with special controls for hazardous/special waste. For more information, see our guidance on hazardous/special waste.

Comply with import and export regulation

If you transport scrap metal into or out of the UK, you must comply with regulations on the international shipment of waste. For more information see our guidance on importing and exporting waste.

Good practice

Be a good operator

Set up a scrap management system. This will help you identify and separate out contaminants such as radioactive materials, plastic, rubber and oil.

Use non-chlorinated cutting fluids for all applications, especially where you might recycle the scrap material.

Prevent land and water pollution

Store your oil-contaminated scrap on concrete pads.

Install drainage systems in your storage areas that are isolated from your general drainage and are fitted with an oil interceptor or an alternative water treatment system.

Get your oil interceptor inspected and serviced regularly.

Check if you need permission from your environmental regulator or your < water company or authority to discharge the wastewater from your oil interceptor.

PPG 3 Use and design of oil separators in surface water drainage systems (Adobe PDF – 78.6KB)

You may use shot and grit in your mechanical cleaning processes.

Shot or grit blasting removes contaminants, such as rust, paint, scale, swarf, oil and grease, before processing or coating your metal product. You may also use it to increase the surface area of your metals.

Your systems may have a closed circuit for the abrasive material used in blasting. This reuses the shot or grit and reduces the amount of abrasive material you use. You can wet-propel, in a water suspension, or dry-propel the abrasive material.

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 relating to your levels of noise or air emissions. You can be fined or even sent to prison if you do not comply with conditions.

Prevent nuisance

Mechanical cleaning can have significant impacts on your local air quality and can cause noise pollution. You may have to take steps to control air quality and prevent noise pollution from your site.

If your process creates levels of noise or odour 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.

If your spent shot or grit is contaminated, you may need to deal with spent shot and grit as hazardous/special waste. For more information, see our guidance on 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 air emissions

Cover your spent grit or shot while you are arranging its disposal. This will reduce your dust emissions.

Check the condition of seals and pipework on your grit blasting equipment regularly. Replace any damaged pipework to reduce your dust emissions.

Add a small amount of water to your spent grit-blasting materials to form a solid mass. This will reduce the likelihood of you causing a dust nuisance.

Install an air extraction system in your grit blasting areas. Use a cyclone extraction system that allows your material to be sorted by size. This will also enable you to reuse correctly sized grit in your system.

Prevent noise nuisance

Keep all doors to your grit blasting areas closed to contain noise within your building.

Use sound reduction measures, such as insulated screens, to reduce your noise levels.

Be an efficient operator

Wipe your material surfaces with rags prior to grit blasting to minimise contamination of your metals. Ensure that the rags you use are recovered or disposed of at an appropriately authorised site.

Regularly check the condition of your grit-blasting material to avoid disposing of it unnecessarily.

Control hazards at your site

Vacuum up, rather than sweep up, any materials you spill to avoid combustion of the metal dusts.

Ensure you have good airflow through your production and working environment. Monitor this regularly using airflow measurement equipment.

A proportion of your components will not have the desired surface finish and you will need to strip them before they are reprocessed. You might also periodically strip your jigs. Stripping is usually achieved using alkaline agents, eg hydrogen peroxide, followed by acid stripping agents, eg nitric acid.

What you must do

You need to carefully manage chemicals used for stripping as they are corrosive and contain significant quantities of metals. Rinse waters used in the rework area will contain ever-increasing quantities of metals when they are reused.

Ensure that you do not make any discharge to public sewers, surface waters or groundwater without consulting the appropriate regulator.To make a discharge without the appropriate permission may be an offence and could lead to enforcement action.

Trade effluent - discharges to sewers

Preventing water pollution

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Due to their hazardous properties, you must handle spent stripping agents and sludges from stripping tanks as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

Good practice

  • If you use dip-stripping tanks, carefully monitor the temperature of the tanks to prevent excessive evaporation. Cover the tanks when they are not in use.
  • When stripping solutions eventually need to be discarded, they will contain a significant amount of metal residue. Where possible you should recover this metal as it could benefit you financially, particularly in the case of precious metals.
  • Use the minimum possible amount of stripping chemical.
  • Carefully store stripping chemicals in a bunded area. This will prevent chemicals entering drains or watercourses.

Oil storage

Chemical storage

Good practice

There are few environmental impacts associated with small scale welding operations.

Check whether your welding rods have a hazard label on the packaging; adhere to directions for use and disposal.

Use a supplier who will take back empty packing and cylinders for reuse. This may reduce your waste disposal costs.

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

  • Please let us know your thoughts on our new website

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    See NI Future legislation or Scotland Future legislation for details of the Consultation

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    NIEA: Guidance on the Regulation of Greenfield Excavated Materials in Construction and Development

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    Consultation documents

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    Knowledge development category winner, see the ENDS Awards

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    Knowledge development category winners, see the END Awards

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    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

  • Download our NEW leaflet today: Duty of Care for waste

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    Duty of Care for waste (Scotland) leaflet (PDF - 775KB)

     

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