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Environment Protection Authority

NSW Road Noise Policy

The NSW Road Noise Policy replaced the Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise from 1 July 2011.

The NSW Road Noise Policy contains strategies to address the issue of road traffic noise from:

  • existing roads
  • new road projects
  • road redevelopment projects
  • traffic-generating developments.

The policy also defines criteria to be used in assessing the impact of road traffic noise. It is intended for use by:

  • road project proponents
  • determining authorities and regulators
  • city and transport planners
  • acoustic specialists.

The policy aims to:

  • facilitate a more streamlined assessment process for road projects
  • increase protection for residents in quiet areas experiencing large increases in noise from road projects
  • provide up-to-date guidance on strategies to minimise road traffic noise.

View the NSW Road Noise Policy (2011236nswroadnoisepolicy.pdf, 4.4MB) or order a copy from Environment Line on 131 555 or by emailing info@environment.nsw.gov.au.

See NSW Road Noise Policy – key provisions which explains the main differences between the policy and Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise.

Applying the NSW Road Noise Policy

For further information on how the policy is applied, see NSW Road Noise Policy - Application notes or email info@environment.nsw.gov.au.

NSW Road Noise Policy – Transitional arrangements

The guidance below has been developed to assist practitioners and authorities understand which policy is to be applied to projects during the transition period from the Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise (ECRTN) to the Road Noise Policy (RNP).

Part 3A and State Significant Development Projects

Following the repeal of Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), Director General’s Requirements (DGRs) for State Significant Development projects will be specifically tailored for each project and make reference to applicable current government policies. The issuing of DGRs to a proponent is the most logical milestone to transition from the ECRTN to the RNP.

Projects transitioning under the Part 3A process and projects identified as State Significant Development under the amended planning laws that have had DGRs issued prior to 1 July 2011 are to be assessed according to the ECRTN. State Significant Development projects that have DGRs issued on and following 1 July 2011 are to be assessed according to the NSW RNP.

For projects where DGRs have been issued according to the ECRTN and an extended time period (up to two years) will elapse before an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment for the project is lodged with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DP&I), it is possible that amended DGRs may be issued which refer to the RNP. Proponents should confer with DP&I if this delay is anticipated.

The NSW RNP, or any part thereof, is not to be applied retrospectively to projects that have had an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment prepared prior to 1 July 2011.

Part 4 (Designated Development)

For designated developments under Part 4 of the EP&A Act, projects that have had DGRs issued prior to 1 July 2011 are to be assessed according to the ECRTN. Projects that have DGRs issued on and following 1 July 2011 are to be assessed according to the NSW RNP.

For projects where DGRs have been issued according to the ECRTN and an extended time period (up to two years) will elapse before an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment for the project is lodged with DP&I, it is possible that amended DGRs may be issued which refer to the NSW RNP. Proponents should refer to the council and/or DP&I if this is anticipated.

The NSW RNP, or any part thereof, is not to be applied retrospectively to projects that have had an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment prepared prior to 1 July 2011.

Part 4 (Non-Designated Development)

For non-designated developments under Part 4 of the EP&A Act, local councils are the approval authority. Project proponents should check with the local council considering the project for any specific council requirements prior to lodging the project application.

Part 5 Projects (Review of Environmental Factors)

Projects under Part 5 of the EP&A Act are deemed not to have any significant environmental impact and a Review of Environmental Factors is prepared for such projects. The determining authority must take into account to the fullest extent possible all matters likely to affect the environment if the project proceeds. Part of this involves ensuring that the project meets the requirements of any current government policies until approval to proceed is granted.

Projects that have been given approval to proceed before 1 July 2011 are to be assessed according to the ECRTN. Projects that have been given approval to proceed on and following 1 July 2011 are to be assessed according to the NSW RNP.

Environmental criteria for road traffic noise

Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise (roadnoise.pdf, 280KB) represented Government policy on acceptable road traffic noise levels until 30 June 2011. On 1 July, it was replaced by the NSW Road Noise Policy.

Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise aimed to:

  • provide a comprehensive and effective approach to managing road traffic noise
  • consider the need to mitigate road traffic noise early in the road development process
  • promote a range of strategies that should be applied to reducing traffic noise and prevent over-reliance on engineering noise controls such as noise barriers
  • provide criteria that can be used to assess noise impacts for new and redeveloped roads and methodologies that recognise the benefits of all noise mitigation measures.

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Page last updated: 12 June 2013