Noise can be annoying, interfere with speech, disturb sleep or interfere with work. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can also result in increased heart rate, anxiety, hearing loss and other health effects. The impacts of noise depend both on the noise level and its characteristics and how it is perceived by the person affected.
In NSW, noise pollution is regulated through the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997(POEO Act). The POEO (Noise Control) Regulation 2008 also sets certain limits on noise emissions from motor vehicles, vessels and domestic use of certain equipment.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) shares responsibility for enforcing noise control regulations with local government, NSW Police and NSW Roads and Maritime Services).
Sources of noise pollution can include:
- Companion animals such as dogs barking or roosters crowing. If you have a problem with barking dogs please go to our page about barking dogs
- Construction sites
- Home renovations
It is important for anyone involved in resolving disputes over noise pollution to realise that what is music to one person might be offensive noise to another. In responding to noise complaints, an authorised officer will take the approach of what a 'reasonable person' would consider offensive.
Before involving the local authorities, it is advisable to try and solve these matters amicably as often people are unaware that their activities are causing a problem. Independent mediation is also available at Community Justice Centre to help people in disputes reach an agreement.