Frequently Asked Questions

1. About Sims Metal Management

Q – What does Sims Metal Management do?

A – Sims Metal Management is the world’s leading metals and electronics recycling company, offering a wide range of metal recycling services throughout the UK and across the world. Sims Metal Management turns vehicles, machinery, building materials and a whole host of other domestic and industrial items into useful commodities that can be re-used in manufacturing new products. This saves the energy and environmental costs associated with producing materials such as steel, copper, aluminium and glass from virgin sources.

Q – How long has Sims Metal Management been in operation?

A – Sims Metal Management was founded 100 years ago in Australia. Since then the company has grown with global operations across the world – including over 40 sites in the UK. Sims Metal Management has been operating at Avonmouth since 1988 – nearly 30 years. In that time the site has changed very little and much of the recycling processes are consistent with the original operations of the site.

Q – How many people are employed at the Avonmouth site?

A – The Avonmouth site currently employs just under 50 people in a range of roles.

Q- Are operations at Avonmouth safe?

A – Health and safety is one of Sims Metal Management’s highest priorities, with a dedicated programme being delivered throughout the business globally called ‘SimsMMWay’. The SimsMMWay programme is aimed at ensuring health and safety is always at the forefront for every employee. Sims Metal Management has achieved an enviable record within the recycling industry with year-on-year reductions across all key performance indicators. Health and safety is a non-negotiable condition of employment and we are committed to a “zero harm” workplace for every employee, contractor or visitor.

Our Avonmouth site has achieved international standards for Health and Safety Management (OHSAS BS 18001).

Q – Are operations damaging to the environment?

A – The recycling sector, much like energy production, manufacturing or construction sectors, are heavily monitored and closely regulated to ensure that no adverse impacts are caused on the natural environment or local communities. Sims Metal Management takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and has strong vision, principles and policy to ensure that operations are clean and sustainable at a local regional, national and global level. Sims Metal Management liaises closely with the Environment Agency on a regular basis about its operations at Avonmouth. We are fully compliant with all national and Local Authority specific environmental permitting and procedures.

2. Existing Operations

Q – What does Sims Metal Management do at Avonmouth?

A- Click here to view a summary diagram about our current operations.

Q – What are the hours of operation currently?

A – The current hours of operation are 7am to 9pm on weekdays, 7am to 5pm on Saturdays, and no operations on Sundays. We propose to change our hours of operation as part of our planning application – for further information see Section 3, below.

Q – Why was there a previous consultation to change the permits for this site?

A – As a waste recycling site, we have to comply with stringent regulations and UK law requires that we have an environmental permit in order to operate. Recently, the laws relating to waste recycling sites changed. This required us to apply for a new type of permit as part of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). We successfully achieved in September 2017.

We will be submitting another variation application to allow us to increase the footprint of our site.

Q – How will the planning application improve dust mitigation on the site?

A – The planning application will allow us to improve dust mitigation measures through the installation of a newer enclosed ‘Downstream’ plant, improved traffic management processes through the site, as well as an enclosure around the ‘Shredder’ and covered storage bays.

3. Avonmouth Improvement Project – The Proposals

Q – What is being proposed for the Avonmouth site?

A – The main alterations to the current site and operations are as follows:

  • New pre-shredder to reduce occurrence of loud bangs in the ‘Shredder’
  • Introduction of acoustic housing around main machinery
  • Introduction of new one-way traffic flow system and three weighbridges (instead of two) to reduce occurrence of lorries queuing outside the site
  • Three new buildings which would separate metal, where each of the processes would be quieter and more attenuated than existing operations
  • Alteration to weekday opening hours from 7am to 9pm as approved, to 6am-10pm.
  • Covered storage bays to protect outgoing materials (which are not currently covered) from the elements and to improve the appearance of the site and provide dust mitigation enhancements

Q – How will the ‘Pre-Shredder’ reduce the chance of loud bangs?

A – The Pre-Shredder will process materials prior to it entering the shredding process by cutting it up with slowly moving, powerful rotating arms. This reduces the possibility of igniting anything flammable, and allows any liquids or gases to escape slowly. Any liquids are collected by the machine and disposed of carefully.

Q – Will these changes mean that the site will increase its operations?

A – There would be no planned change to the throughput of materials as a result of these proposals. The improvements to the site will represent significant efficiencies for Sims Metal Management. This is the primary motivation for the changes. This planning application will not affect the dock facility.

Q – Why are you seeking to increase the operating hours?

A – The increase in working hours is sought to be varied to allow two additional hours on weekdays to take the hours to 6am-10pm. The reason for this is that it would work more efficiently with shift patterns and would allow 2 x 8 hours shifts within a day.

Q – What other benefits will the proposals bring?

A –  In addition to the cost efficiencies and enhanced processes, these proposals will also result in a reduction in noise due to acoustic housing as well as new equipment that would reduce the risk of loud bangs; and more efficient road system that would minimise vehicle movements in and around the site. The proposals will also result in additional jobs being created and a much improved visual appearance of the site.

Q – Why are you seeking to increase the footprint of the site?

A –  The replacement ‘Downstream’ plant will be built alongside the existing Downstream so that there will be no interruptions to the site operations. In order for us to fit this additional equipment on the site, we need to expand our site footprint. The increased footprint will also give us the opportunity to improve the layout of the HGV delivery area.