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Neighbourhood noise

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.

Neighbourhood noise can have many sources, including:

Noise management and regulation

Under the provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) and Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2017 (Noise Regulation):

  • Council is generally the appropriate regulatory authority for neighbourhood noise.
  • NSW Police may also become involved in neighbourhood noise issues.
  • Civil action at the local court may also be taken.
  • The NSW EPA is the regulatory authority responsible for regulating noise from scheduled activities and noise emitted by public authorities.

The POEO Act addresses common noisy activities in residential areas. It limits the time of day that noisy items can be heard in neighbouring homes.

Common noise issues

Barking dogs can cause distress and disturbance to neighbours. A dog's owner is responsible for making sure their dog does not create a nuisance by barking. It is in the interest of the dog owner, their neighbours, and the health and wellbeing of the dog, to stop it from barking excessively.

More information

Exhaust fans and air conditioners can cause intrusive noise to neighbours. They are not allowed to be used in residential premises if they can be heard within a neighbour's living areas, between the hours of:

  • 10pm and 7am on weekdays
  • 10pm and 8am on weekends and public holidays.

More information

Construction sites are subject to noise restriction regulations under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

  • Some sites are regulated by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and others (local development) by us.
  • We can control construction noise through conditions determined as part of a development consent issued under planning legislation.

If you have a noise-related issue with a neighbouring construction site, try and resolve the issue by talking to your neighbour. If this proves unsuccessful you can contact us, and we will review the conditions of development consent and address the issue with the property owner.

More information

What you can do about noise issues

If you are having issues relating to noise at home, we encourage you to 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 the complaint with your neighbour as they might not realise there is a problem. Your neighbour may also be struggling with the issue, for example a crying baby or barking dog.
  • Your neighbour may be very happy to work with you to resolve the issue.

If speaking to your neighbour about the noise didn't resolve the issue, you can contact the Community Justice Centre (CJC). The CJC can provide help with settling your dispute to avoid a costly legal process. This will normally involve a free mediation session between you and your neighbour, with a Community Justice Centre representative present.

If mediation is unsuccessful, there are other avenues you can follow.

If your neighbour continues being noisy, has a noisy animal or is using noisy appliances, 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.

How we can help

Depending on the case, your noise complaint could result in Council:

  • carrying out an investigation of the noise-related issue
  • issuing your neighbour with a warning about the noise requesting them to take action
  • issuing a formal notice/order
  • enforcing action (including a possible penalty notice or court action).

Under the POEO Act, we can serve notices on people occupying homes and businesses that don't control noise to acceptable levels, from:

  • air conditioners
  • animals
  • power tools
  • lawn mowers
  • non-EPA licenced commercial or industrial premises
  • radios
  • sound production equipment
  • musical instruments
  • burgular alarms
  • swimming pool pumps.

Contact us

If you need more information about neighbourhood noise, please contact our Public and Environmental Health Team: