Excess Noise Is Pollution

Noise is defined as pollution under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 when the noise emissions exceed the acceptable or assigned noise levels defined under the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997.

How Much Noise Can I Make?

Under the regulations you are able to make reasonable noise unless it affects the amenity or wellbeing of others. The regulations set out limits to the amount of noise that can be made. These noise limits apply 24 hours per day vary depending upon:

  • The time of day;
  • Lowest levels at night (10pm to 7am any day or until 9am on Sundays and Public Holidays);
  • Higher during the evenings (7pm to 10pm and on Sundays and Public Holidays 9am to 7pm);
  • Highest during the day (7am to 7pm Monday to Friday);
  • The type of noise; and
  • The location of the premises receiving the noise. Rural areas have lower limits of acceptable noise than areas near major highways or industrial areas.

Equipment Used on Residential Premises

The noise limits do not apply to the use of specific equipment if used in a reasonable manner:

  • Between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday; or
  • Between 9am and 7pm on Sunday and Public Holidays; and
  • Not used for more than 2 hours on any day.

Specific equipment is any equipment which requires the constant presence of an operator for normal use and therefore includes many common household items, including lawnmowers and basketballs but does not include equipment which can be turned on and left running such as a radio or air conditioner.

Building Construction Sites

  • Work may be undertaken on a construction site between the hours of 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday but not on Sunday or a Public Holiday.
  • All work must be carried out in a manner that complies with AS 2436-1981 Guide to Noise Control on Construction, Maintenance and Demolition Sites.
  • The equipment used for the construction work must be the quietest reasonably available and does not include radios and the like.

Work out of hours must be approved by the Chief Executive Officer following, among other matters:

  • Notice to adjoining owners;
  • Being satisfied by the builder that it was reasonably necessary for the work to be done out of hours; and
  • The submission and approval of a noise management plan.
  • The application form for Out of Hours Works approval can be downloaded here.

Please Note That No out of Hours Construction Permits Will Be Issued During Easter and Anzac Days.

More Details

For full details of these requirements please refer to the Department of Environment and Conservation website here or contact the Manager Develoment Services - Health on 08 9175 8000.

Summary of the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997