Reducing industrial noise - The Black Country Forge and Foundry Project

Traditional metal working industries are important to the economy of the ‘Black Country’ area in the West Midlands. Many forges and foundries are located here, and many of these companies are small or medium sized businesses.

Reducing noise from forges and foundries

Forges and foundries are often situated in or close to residential areas. Much of their work is inherently noisy, and the noise is often impulsive and distinctive. The forge and foundry buildings are usually lightweight structures with natural ventilation and minimal sound insulation. Inevitably noise affects the surrounding communities and can be a major problem. Many companies are faced with complaints about noise, and in some cases, with legal action by Local Authorities, especially if work extends outside normal daytime hours.

The costs of noise control or of restricting working hours restricts the development of these businesses and in some cases threatens their survival. Alleviation of community noise problems would significantly improve the long-term prospects of foundries and forges with obvious benefits for employment and to the local economy.

The Black Country Forge and Foundry Project was directed towards the study of noise emission from foundries and forges and the identification or development of practicable, effective means of noise control within the budgets of small companies.  Pilot projects were carried out at three premises to demonstrate the noise control measures. 

Reducing noise - the handbook

The final report was published early in 2002 as a handbook.  This handbook “Reducing Noise from Forges & Foundries” is directed towards forge and foundry owners and managers, although it may also be useful to Environmental Health Officers, to others involved in noise assessment and control, and to residents who are bothered by noise from a forge or foundry.  Although some of the information relates specifically to forges and foundries, the same principles apply to most other industries, and the handbook is also relevant to other industries.

The A5 printed handbook is now out of print, but we have made it available on our website in html format. 


The project was sponsored by:

Dudley MBC;   Sandwell  MBC;   Walsall MBC;   Wolverhampton MBC;   The GMB Union;   The Confederation of British Forgers;   The British Foundry Association;   ISVR Consulting, University of Southampton

and supported by the European Union Regional Development Fund.

Supported by the European Commission project logo