Aluminium foundry fined £10,000 for noise pollution

Zeus Aluminium Products has been fined £10,000 for failing to comply with a noise abatement notice at its foundry in Stourbridge in the West Midlands.

Zeus pleaded guilty before Halesowen magistrates on 13 June to a charge of failing to comply with a noise abatement notice issued by Dudley council under section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The company was ordered to pay £830 costs.

The company, which manufactures parts for high-performance cars, relocated to the Stourbridge site in 2003. Although the site had planning permission for industrial use, the nearest houses are only 50 metres away.

The council began to receive complaints about operations at the new site as soon as the company moved in. It estimates that it received complaints from about 100 households over the course of two years.

In February 2004, Dudley determined that the noise was a statutory nuisance and issued Zeus with the abatement notice requiring it to stop the noise and prevent it from reoccurring.

Dudley pressed charges when the complaints continued. Zeus pleaded guilty to the offence and said in mitigation that it had spent some £22,000 on the search for a solution, including hiring specialist consultants.

Speaking after the case, the council's environmental protection manager Tim Glews said that the council met the company on several occasions to discuss the situation but the responses had been inadequate. The noise came from numerous sources on site including "crash and bang" noises from moving materials and a low-frequency roar from the furnace. Poor ventilation led to the main factory doors being left open, exacerbating the problem.

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