Noise pollution can have a negative impact on the quality of life and may affect the enjoyment of your neighbourhood. Excessive noise can escalate into serious confrontations between members of the community. Noise affects people in different ways at various times of the day. Noise complaints can be from a number of sources including:
- barking dogs
- construction sites
- power tools
- air conditioners
- swimming pool and spa pumps
- refrigeration unit fitted to motor vehicles
- cars and other vehicles.
Barking dogs can cause distress and disturbance to neighbours. As a dog owner, you are responsible to ensure your dog does not create a nuisance by barking. It is in the interest of both you and your neighbour, and in the interest of the health and well-being of your dog, to stop it from barking excessively.
Exhaust fans and air conditioners can also cause intrusive noise and are not allowed to be used in residential premises, if they can be heard within a neighbour's living areas, between 10pm to 7am on weekdays and 10pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays.
Construction sites are subject to noise restriction regulations provided under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. However, some are regulated by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and others (local development) by Council. Council can control construction noise through conditions determined as part of development consents issued under planning legislation. If you are experiencing a noise-related issue with a neighbouring development construction site, try and resolve the issue by talking to your neighbour. If this proves unsuccessful, you can contact Council, who will review the conditions of development consent and address the issue with the property owner.
There are laws relating to noise pollution and Council and the local police have procedures in place to support your concerns, should you be affected by noise. They can provide an assessment of what levels of noise are acceptable, which will then determine how the situation is dealt with.
Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act), the EPA is the appropriate regulatory authority responsible for regulating noise from scheduled activities carried out by public authorities under the Act.
Local councils are largely responsible for the management of noise in relation to non-scheduled activities, with local police also involved in neighbourhood noise issues.
The Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008 addresses common noisy activities that are undertaken in residential areas. The Regulation limits the time of day that noisy items, such as leaf blowers and stereos, are allowed to be heard in neighbouring residences.
If you are experiencing issues relating to noise and the source of noise is a problem for you, we advise that you try to resolve the problem by talking with your neighbour before calling authorities to discuss possible solutions that you both can agree on. Try and be tactful when discussing your complaint with your neighbour, as they might not realise there is a problem, or they may be sensitive about issues such as crying babies. Often the person causing the noise is not aware that it is a problem, and they are happy to work with you to resolve the issue.
If the noise continues, you can contact the Community Justice Centre (CJC) - a NSW Government-funded independent organisation that can provide assistance with settling disputes in order to avoid costly legal processes. This will normally involve a mediation session with the other party who is causing the noise, together with the CJC representative, and this has proven to have a high success rate in past cases.
To contact your local CJC, visit the Community Justice Centres website.
For noise restrictions and times, you can check the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website.
Links and downloads
NSW EPA and the NSW Government Community Justice Centres have further information available to assist with noise-related issues:
We can help you
If you need more information about making a noise complaint, please contact our Public and Environmental Health Unit:
- T: 02 4474 1310
- E: Council's Public and Environmental Health Unit