Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008

Review of the NSW Noise Control Regulation

The Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008 is currently being reviewed and the EPA is considering feedback on the draft proposed POEO (Noise Control) Regulation 2017 and accompanying Regulatory Impact Statement. The proposed changes are designed to improve clarity and enforceability and bring the Regulation in line with best practice. Visit the consultation page to to view the draft Regulation and Regulatory Impact Statement.

This Regulation controls noise from motor vehicles and marine vessels and sets community standards on acceptable noise intrusion in homes from such appliances as intruder alarms, music amplifiers, air conditioners and powered garden tools.

When it commenced in March 2008, the Regulation introduced a range of new provisions in relation to:

Motor vehicles
  • Phasing in stationary exhaust noise limits for vehicles certified to Australian Design Rule 83/00, generally pushing noise down 2-3 decibels in drive-by tests
  • Requiring police and other authorised officers to be ‘reasonable’ when determining whether a vehicle’s noise control equipment is defective and emitting exhaust noise above prescribed limits
  • Extending maximum limits on vehicle noise emissions to ‘road-related’ areas, such as car parks, but providing a defence for authorised motor sport events
  • Requiring noise control equipment on vehicles to be ‘securely in place’ and restricting the use of temporary noise reduction devices, which had sometimes been used to cheat noise tests
  • Removing unnecessary restrictions on the number of mufflers
  • Reducing the time a vehicle alarm may sound before incurring a higher penalty and phasing out the previous defence which allowed alarm time limits to be exceeded in some circumstances
  • Adopting the national testing procedures for motor vehicle noise
Marine vessels
  • Making it an offence for all marine vessels to emit ‘offensive’ noise
  • Requiring the maintenance of noise control equipment on marine vessels
  • Prohibiting the emission of offensive noise from a musical instrument or sound system on a vessel
Noisy articles
  • Restricting the playing of loud musical instruments and sound systems that disturb neighbours after 10 pm Sunday to Thursday, rather than after 12 midnight
  • Controlling the noise from heat pump water heaters to minimise their impact on neighbours
  • Reducing the time a building alarm may sound before incurring a higher penalty

Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008.

Clause 37 of the Regulation ‘Size, design, format and construction of noise labels’ states ‘A noise label required by this Division must be a label of a size, design, format and construction approved by the EPA.’ The test procedures for grass cutting machines and chainsaws are within the Regulation and the approved label formats for these articles are provided at:

Technical Basis for the Regulation of Noise Labelling of New Grass Cutting Machines (PDF, 68KB)

Technical Basis for the Regulation of Noise Labelling of New Chainsaws In Australia (PDF, 58 KB)

Approved label formats for air conditioners and pavement breakers / mobile air compressors are within the Technical Basis documents for these articles noted below.

Clause 54(6) and (7) of the Regulation 'Determining the noise level of an article' refers to two documents available for inspection at the offices of the EPA. These are also available below:


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Page last updated: 10 July 2017