Noise

Council receives and investigates a number of noise complaints each year. Complaints vary in nature but are often associated with amplified music, barking dogs and equipment such as pool pumps and air conditioners.

 Noise example Example: A noisy air conditioner near a neighbour's window. Image: yourhome.gov.au

Why is noise a problem?

Noise can be classed as offensive if it is disturbing other people. Under the Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act 1997, offensive noise is defined as:

   noise that, by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is
   made, or any other circumstances:
   i.   is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the
        premises from which it is emitted, or
   ii.  interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with)
        the comfort or repose of a person who is outside the premises from which
        it is emitted, or
   that is of as level, nature, character or quality prescribed by the regulations or
   that is made at a time, or in other circumstances, prescribed by the regulations.

For example:

  • loud music at night can disturb neighbours. If this disturbance is regular, the noise would be classified as offensive, and you may be asked to turn the music down.
  • Loud power tools may prevent a neighbour from working. You may be asked to use your tools inside a shed so that the noise is contained.

Time restrictions - nights and public holidays

Noise during the night has a different impact to daytime noise. More people are home and trying to sleep or relax, so the same level of noise may be more disturbing. Night time noise is regulated, and there are certain types of noise that should not be heard inside a neighbour's residence at certain times.

   Weekday  Weekend or public holiday 
Before After Before After
Power tools and equipment
e.g. garden tools, electric or pneumatic tools,  compressors and pumps
7 AM 8 PM 8 AM 8 PM
Musical instruments and electrically amplified sound equipment
e.g. radios, TVs and home theatre systems
8 AM 10 PM 8 AM Midnight before a weekend or public holiday
Air conditioners and water heaters 7 AM 10 PM 8 AM 10PM
Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises) 7 AM 8 PM 8 AM 8 PM
Refrigeration units fitted to motor vehicles 7 AM 8 PM 8 AM 8 PM

 

More information can be found in "Dealing with Neighbourhood Noise" on the EPA website, here, or ask Council for a copy of the brochure.

What can you do if noise is a problem for you?

The first step you can take is to talk to the person/s responsible for making the noise. Often people do not realise they are being noisy or are not aware of the effect it may have on other people.
It is strongly recommended that you attempt to resolve the issue before involving Council, as a third party can create tension that would otherwise have been avoided.

If the issue cannot be resolved using this approach, other options include:

  • If the noise is due to a one-off event, you can contact Council or the local police, who can issue a noise abatement direction to immediately reduce the noise. The police assistance line is 131 444.
  • Contacting Council and we will work to find a suitable resolution. Council may find it appropriate to use a prevention notice or noise control notice (setting a noise limit).
  • Contacting the local court for a noise abatement order independent of Council. Registry staff will assist you, or you may wish to ask you legal advisor for help. The person responsible for causing the noise can appeal against the order. The NSW EPA Seeking Noise Abatement Orders brochure contains more details. You can contact Bathurst Court House on 6339 9300.
  • Some noise may be regulated by an organisation other than Council, for example the Environment Protection Authority or the Roads and Maritime Services. A table of contact information can be found in "Dealing with Neighbourhood Noise" on the EPA website, here, or ask Council for a copy of the brochure.

If Council receives a noise complaint from a member of the local community, the complaints will be largely investigated using the provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act 1997 and associated regulation. In responding to noise complaints, an authorised officer will make an assessment of the noise and determine what a 'reasonable person' would consider offensive.  

Making a complaint

To make a noise complaint, contact Council's Environment Section on 6333 6511.

Please note:

  • All complaints are dealt with confidentially.
  • Council requires that you provide contact information so that we may follow up during the resolution process. It is Council's Policy that anonymous complaints are not investigated.
  • Complainants should be aware that, in some circumstances, should a matter subsequently involve legal action, a written statement and/or court appearance by the complainant may be required.