Noise Restrictions

Noise can affect different people in different ways. What's acceptable to one person may be offensive to another.

Time restrictions in residential areas

Power tools and swimming or spa pool pumps restrictions

  • Sunday or public holiday - before 8am or after 8pm.
  • Any other day - before 7am or after 8pm.

Musical instruments and electrically-amplified sound equipment restrictions

  • Friday, Saturday or day immediately before a public holiday - before 8am and after midnight.
  • Any other day - before 8am and after 10pm.

Air conditioners and heat pump water heaters restrictions

  • Saturday, Sunday or public holiday - before 8am or after 10pm.
  • Any other day - before 7am or after 10pm.

How is offensive noise measured? 

Any noise from a noise source that exceeds 5 decibels [dB(A)] above the background level may be offensive. The background noise level is measured without the problem noise source occurring and excluding unrelated noise such as traffic or rail noise. The background level will vary depending on the time of day and the location of the property. The minimum background level used in noise assessment is 30 dB(A).

Your options if noise is a problem

First, try to solve the problem amicably by talking to whoever is causing the noise. Instead of involving council, this approach also helps to maintain good relations with your neighbour.
  • If the noise continues you can contact a Community Justice Centre to try and arrange mediation with your neighbour. These are government funded independent centres specialising in settling differences between neighbours without entering into complicated legal processes.
  • Seek a noise abatement order.  Regardless of any council action, you can seek a noise abatement order through the Chamber Magistrate in your local court. If the court is satisfied that the neighbour is causing an offensive noise or that the noise is likely to recur, it may order them to stop the noise or prevent a recurrence.

What to report to council 

Typical noise complaints we will investigate are:

  • Neighbourhood noise - animal noise (there are different procedures for barking dogs), power tools, loud music, air conditioners, pool pumps etc.
  • Smaller factories and backyard workshops.
  • Commercial premises - ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration.
  • Noisy motor vehicles in public places.
  • Noisy motor vehicles on private property.
  • Road traffic.
  • Road construction on council roads (for State managed roads in the Shire, you need to contact Roads and Maritime).
  • Building construction.
  • Noise from sporting facilities including motor sport noise or noise from gun/rifle/pistol clubs.
  • Concert noise.
  • Alarms eg security alarms, car alarms.

Report a noise issue to council

Investigation process

We take the following factors into consideration:

  • Noise level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances.
  • Whether it's harmful (or is likely to be harmful) to a person who's outside the premises from which it's emitted.
  • Whether it interferes unreasonably (or is likely to interfere unreasonably) with the comfort or repose of a person who's outside the premises from which it's emitted.

If, following investigation, noise is considered offensive, actions we can take under the Protection of the Environment Act include issuing:

  • A Prevention Notice.
  • A Noise Control Notice.
Information about reporting barking dogs

Air conditioners and heat pump hot water systems

You need council approval to install an air conditioning unit unless it meets the exempt development criteria.

Tips

  • Buy one that won't cause a noise nuisance to your neighbours. Even if you've been told that it complies with noise requirements it doesn't mean it's going to suit every location all the time.
  • Locate the equipment away from your neighbour's bedroom and living room windows.
  • Locating the unit close to a common boundary adjacent to your neighbour's dwelling is likely to cause a noise problem to your neighbour that may result in the council becoming involved, and you having to either reduce the impact of the sound or relocate the unit, both of which can be expensive.

Use a noise calculator 

Each air conditioning unit or heat pump hot water system will have a 'sound power level' provided in its manufacturers specification or on a label attached to the equipment. 

Before buying, use this online noise calculator to determine if a unit is suitable for your chosen location. Enter the site specific details for your location and the calculator will provide maximum sound power levels for operation both at night and during the day. Compare these levels with those for the unit you are assessing. If the levels exceed the calculator levels the unit may create a noise nuisance to your neighbour. The calculator is a guide only and it is advisable to discuss your situation with the installer or manufacturer prior to purchase.




Location

Address: ,

More information

Enquiries

Enquiries can be directed to Environmental Health Officers on 9710 0202 or ssc@ssc.nsw.gov.au

Noise issue

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