Loud lawnmowers and clanking construction - who to call?
With many people working from home and kids home schooling during lockdown we recognise that for some, local noise has become more prominent.
The EPA uses a range of equipment to monitor noise over roadways or construction sites
Rules are in place to make sure that industry, construction and other activities consider their neighbours and keep noise levels down.
We encourage the community to let us know about noise that is causing irritation.
EPA’s Technical Advice Noise Unit Head Paul Maddock said that noise can affect people in different ways – for example, a constant tapping can be just as intolerable as a particularly loud noise.
“We receive over 3,000 calls a year from the public to our 24/7 Environment Line about noise,” Paul said.
“Knowing how and where to report problem noise is important and the EPA has recently published an easy guide to help the community find the right avenue.
The guide explains that the EPA regulates noise from licensed industrial premises such as quarries, mines, factories, waste processing sites and also government construction projects. This can include road and rail upgrades.
“The Noise Unit has staff with technical capability to measure and analyse noise to support the EPA’s regulatory decision making. For example, measuring noise from a licensed premises to determine if they are complying with their noise limits or investigating a noise complaint and providing advice to inform the EPA’s response.
Neighbourhood noise is generally regulated by local councils and NSW Police.
“For instance, to report noise relating to barking dogs or from gardening equipment and power tools during certain hours people should contact their local council,” Paul said.
“Loud parties are best reported to the Police.”
“Another common complaint affecting the community is noise pollution from defective or enhanced vehicle engines or exhausts and this can incur on-the-spot fines from NSW Police.
“The EPA assists with surveillance in areas where risky or loud vehicles are reported.”
Investigating noise. How loud is too loud?
Equipment is employed at a residence to monitor noise from a licensed premises nearby
The EPA has the equipment and expertise to measure and monitor noise levels reported from licensed premises.
The image (right) shows monitoring in response to complaints about noise from a waste facility, using a B&K 3659 Logger with outdoor microphone, integrated weather station, remote management and download, and solar backup power.
Current consultations on noise
The EPA sought feedback this year on a new Construction Noise Guideline, now in the review stage. Stakeholders were surveyed on the best ways to manage construction noise to ensure all feasible and reasonable mitigation measures are used to manage impacts on the community and the environment.
Public consultation on a Draft Noise Guideline for Local Government opened in early August. The Guide provides practical guidance on the day-to-day management of common noise issues which are generally managed by councils. The EPA is seeking the views of stakeholders on the Guide. To view the Draft Noise Guide for Local Government and the frequently asked questions, and to have your say on the proposed changes, visit the EPA’s online consultation website
EPA shares report with key industry group
The EPA’s Christopher Marsh has submitted an article to the Australian Acoustics Society’s August journal, Acoustics Australia (https://www.springer.com/journal/40857) on comparative trends observed in noise issues reported to Environment Line in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. The analysis revealed significant changes in the number and type of noise related enquiries during 2020 when compared with historical averages from the last few years.
- Find out more on regulating noise
- Where and how to report noise: check this easy guide or call the Environment Line on 131 555