Neighbourhood noise can be very annoying, especially when it disrupts your lifestyle and sleep. Find out how you can prevent noise from being an unpleasant issue and be a good neighbour yourself. Further information is available online at NSW Environmental Protection Authority.

The control of animal noise is enforced under the Companion Animals Act for cats and dogs on private property or the Protection of the Environment and Operations Act for breeders and other animals such as crowing roosters.

When noise annoys

There are many other noise sources that can also cause undue disturbance. Try talking to your neighbour or the person causing the noise first. They may not realise it is a cause for concern or creating a nuisance.

Time of day restrictions are also in place for residential noise. During these times, noise should not be heard in a habitable room in a neighbour's residence. Fines may be issued in some circumstances.

Noise Source Time Restrictions
Power Tools 8pm to 8am on Saturday, Sunday or public holiday

8pm to 7am on any other day

Pumps and heat water pumps (including swimming pool and spa pumps) 8pm to 8am on Saturday, Sunday or public holiday

8pm to 7am on another other day

Music Midnight to 8am on Friday, Saturday or any day preceding a public holiday

10pm to 8am on any other day

Air conditioner or water heater 10pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays

10pm to 7am on weekdays

Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises) 8pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays

8pm to 7am on any other day

Refrigeration unit fitted to motor vehicles 8pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays

8pm to 7am on any other day

Development consents may also limit time of day construction noise. Where this is the case, it will be listed as a condition of consent. Current consents can be viewed online.

Consider mediation

If talking to your neighbour isn’t an option, or doesn’t work and the noise continues, contact Community Justice Centre (CJC). These centres specialise in settling differences between neighbours. They can arrange mediation between yourself, the person responsible for the noise issue and a CJC representative to help solve the problem. This process is free and has a high success rate. They can help you and your neighbour find a peaceful resolution.

How to report noise pollution

If all else fails, report your noise pollution issue. Give the time/s, date/s and duration of the noise. Include the type and sound of the noise, the likely noise source and your contact details. We will investigate and outline to you the actions that can be taken.

Report an issue

As first response, we advise the owner of the noise source of the issue and encourage them to explore options to prevent the noise. Should the noise continue you will need to let us know. Further investigation and evidence maybe required. If, after examining the evidence, the complaint is justified, Council may issue a prevention notice under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, where noise is found to be offensive. The prevention notice requires them to control offensive noise and advises acceptable noise levels.

If you want to take action independently of the council, you can seek a noise abatement order from the local court. Other authorities including Council can also issue this order under certain circumstances.

Offensive noise

Noise can affect different people in different ways. What is acceptable to one person may be offensive to another. Whether a particular noise is offensive is a subjective assessment based on:

  • Its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made.
  • Whether it is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted.
  • Whether it 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.

Any noise exceeding 5 decibels above the background level may be offensive. Background levels vary depending on the time of day and night and the location of the property. In determining whether noise is offensive a number of factors are considered:

  • Is the noise loud either in an absolute sense or relative to other noise in the area.
  • Is the noise well above the background noise level.
  • Does the noise include any tones, impulses or fluctuations in volume.
  • Does the noise occur at times when unreasonable interference with comfort or repose occurs or is likely. For example, during evenings or at night.
  • How often does the noise occur (hourly, daily, monthly).
  • Is the volume, duration or character of the noise typical of the type of activity in question.
  • Is the noise affecting or likely to adversely affect people’s activities. For example, conversation, reading, studying, watching TV or sleeping?
  • Is the noise typical of activities conducted in the area.