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Noise complaints

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 due to many sources, including:

Common complaints

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 well-being of the dog, to stop it from barking excessively.

Exhaust fans and air conditioners: can 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:

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 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.

Noise management and regulation

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act):

  • the EPA is the 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
  • local police may become involved in other neighbourhood noise issues.

The POEO Act addresses common noisy activities in residential areas. It limits the time of day that noisy items, such as leaf blowers and stereos, are allowed to be heard in neighbouring residences. 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 to do about noise issues

If you are experiencing issues relating to noise, 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 your complaint with your neighbour, as they might not realise there is a problem, or they may also be struggling with the issue, for example crying babies or barking dogs.
  • The person causing the noise may be very happy to work with you to resolve the issue.

If this approach does not work, you can contact the Community Justice Centre, which can provide assistance with settling disputes in order to avoid costly legal processes. This will normally involve a mediation session between you and the party causing the noise, with a Community Justice Centre representative present.

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.

If the situation does not improve after you have taken the appropriate steps above, it may then be necessary to contact the NSW EPA:

More information

NSW EPA, NSW Government's Community Justice Centres and Department of Planning and Environment have further information available to assist with noise-related issues:

Contact us

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