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Noise Pollution

Noise in NSW such as from alarms, machines, and music is regulated under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2017. Depending on the source of the noise, other government agencies or authorities may be the regulatory authority, i.e. NSW Police or the NSW EPA.  

When noise issues arise Council encourages you to try to solve the problem amicably by talking to whoever is causing the noise that is affecting you. The person may not know that the noise is affecting you or is a problem. Often people are happy to work with you to solve the problem.  

If talking to your neighbours does not solve the issue, and/or if this issue is a part of a larger dispute you can contact the Community Justice Centre. Community Justice Centre's are independent centres that specialise in settling differences between neighbours without entering complicated legal processes. Services are free, confidential and voluntary. For more information contact the Community Justice Centre.

For complaints where the noise is currently occurring after hours, or related to antisocial behaviour i.e. large parties, fighting/yelling, erratic driving etc please contact the Police. Council is best suited to dealing with issues of an ongoing or frequent nature that are unable to be resolved privately.  

To help manage neighbourhood noise issues, the NSW State Government introduced time restrictions on the use of certain household equipment and vehicles:

Noise Source Time Restrictions 
Power Tools 8pm-8am on Sundays and Public Holidays
8pm-7am on weekdays and Saturdays 
Swimming Pool and Spa Pumps 8pm-8am on Sundays and Public Holidays
8pm-7am on weekdays and Saturdays 
Music Midnight - 8am on Friday, Saturday or any day preceeding a public holiday
10pm- 8am on any other day
Air Conditioner or water heater 10pm-8am on weekends and public holidays
10pm-7am on weekdays
Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises 8pm-8am on weekends and Public Holidays
8pm-7am on weekdays
Refridgeration unit fitted to motor vehicles 8pm-8am on weekends and Public Holidays
8pm-7am on weekdays 

Making a Complaint   

When making a complaint to Council, it is important for you to identify the source of the noise and provide as much detail as you can about the type of noise, the time, the duration it occurs and what you have done to try and address it.

You will be asked to provide your contact details and address. These details will not be disclosed to the complainant but are important to substantiate the complaint and allow Council to clarify information, or where necessary collect further information from you.  

On receipt of a complaint, we will determine if Council is the appropriate Authority to investigate, alternatively we may refer you to another authority for advice or advise you it is a matter better settled privately.  

Where Council investigate, you may be asked to document and submit a noise diary detailing the type of noise, time, duration and impact on you for a period of time to support our investigation.  

It's important to understand that noise issues can be complex in nature, and the investigation and resolution process often takes time. Generally the person accused of making the noise will be made aware of concerns raised and provided with advice on their responsibilities by Council as a first step.  

Further action is then informed by how they respond, as the complainant you may be asked to monitor and report on the issue over time.  

Note: In order to get the best outcome you must be willing to support any subsequent investigation by providing further information as requested and, be willing to testify on the accuracy of that information in a Court of Law if required. If you are not willing to do this, the ability of Council to intervene can be significantly limited, and may result in no further action being taken.

Non-residential noise

The time restrictions outlined in the above table apply to noise arising from residential premises only. Noise issues related to commercial premises or from the keeping of animals are more complex and will be assessed on a case by case basis to determine available avenues.  

Further information on barking dogs can also be found here: http://www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/community/animals/barkingdog  

For concerns regarding traffic noise, further information can be found here: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/noise/transport-noise  

More information  

For further information about noise pollution, please contact the NSW Environment Protection Authority on 131 555 or refer to the EPA website.  

If you would like Council to investigate a noise pollution incident, or for more information, contact Council’s Customer Service Team on 4993 4100.