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 (see Reporting noise pollution).
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.
Noise pollution topics
Noise in the 2012 State of the Environment report
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Page last updated: 16 July 2013