Noise pollution can have a negative impact on the quality of life and may affect the enjoyment of your neighbourhood. Noise affects people in different ways at various times of the day.
Noise complaints can be from a number of sources including:
- barking dogs
- roosters and chickens
- 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 (POEO Act). 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.
Who is responsible for the management of noise?
Under the POEO Act, the EPA is the appropriate regulatory authority responsible for regulating noise from scheduled activities and noise emitted by public authorities.
Council is 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 2017 (the Regulation) addresses common noisy activities that are carried out 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.
For noise restrictions and times, you can check the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website.
In addition to time restrictions, there are restrictions on the level of noise that may be emitted throughout the day and night, and whether the noise is considered 'offensive'.
What can I do if I have a noise related issue?
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 to discuss possible solutions that you can both 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.
You can also contact the Community Justice Centre (CJC), who 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.
If your neighbour is continually being noisy, has a noisy animal or is using noisy applicances, you can take action independently of Council or another regulator, and seek a Noise Abatement Order under Section 268 of the POEO Act. To apply for an order, contact your local court house who will explain the process to you.
If the situation has not improved after you have taken the appropriate steps above, it may then be necessary to contact the relevant authority:
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 noise pollution, please contact our Public and Environmental Health Team:
- T: 02 4474 1310
- E: Council's Public and Environmental Health Team