Port Botany noise

The EPA's response to noise complaints from the community living in the Port Botany area.

female EPA officer installing noise monitors

The EPA and NSW Ports registered a significant increase in noise complaints from the community living in the Port Botany area during 2020 and 2021, which we have been working to resolve. In response to the increase in complaints, the EPA has been working with stakeholders, including NSW Ports, the Port Authority of NSW, Randwick and Bayside Councils, local industry and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, to investigate potential noise sources.

To better understand noise in the local area NSW Ports commissioned noise monitoring activities in 2020. The report concluded the largest source of low frequency noise in the area was ships berthed at Port Botany, with other low frequency noise sources contributing. Low frequency noise is often described by people as a ‘throbbing’ or ‘humming’ sound and can become more noticeable during the evening and at night. A copy of the NSW Ports report can be found at https://www.nswports.com.au/outcome-noise-investigation-port-botany.

In early 2021,we commissioned Marshall Day Acoustics to undertake a noise monitoring program in the Port Botany precinct. The noise study was designed to identify noise sources that emit low frequency noise – often described by people as a ‘throbbing’ or ‘humming’ sound that can become more noticeable during the evening and at night – predominantly in and around the Botany industrial and transport areas (the port). This noise study included long and short-term noise measurements at six locations in the area surrounding the Botany industrial and transport area. These locations were Dent Street in Botany, Woonah Street in Little Bay, Anzac Parade in La Perouse, Brotherson House in Port Botany and two locations along Australia Avenue in Matraville.

This study confirmed that activities at the Port, particularly from ship exhausts, were the main sources of low frequency noise in the Port Botany area. However, the study also identified other sources of low frequency noise that could be impacting residents, including

  • Rail and aircraft movements which tend to be temporary, acting as short-term noise sources
  • Road traffic, particularly from heavy vehicles, and larger industrial sites, such as the Opal Paper Mill. These sources are more likely to impact average noise levels. 

We are considering these findings and appropriate next steps. For a copy of the report contact info@epa.nsw.gov.au

We will continue to provide updates to the community through our website.

Noise relating to Port Botany can be reported to NSW Ports on 1300 922 524, at www.nswports.com.au or to your local council. 

Opal Packaging

Opal was identified as a potential contributor to low frequency noise. Opal is continuing to investigate low frequency noise from its premises. We have added conditions to Opal’s licence that require Opal to further assess the noise generated at the premises and to identify any potential annoying noise characteristics. These conditions can be viewed on Opal’s Environment Protection Licence on the POEO  public register. We continue to work with Opal to address its contribution to low frequency noise in the Port Botany area. 

Noise relating to Opal packaging can be reported to Opal on 1800 072 734, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Reporting to the licence holder in the first instance will ensure the quickest response.

For other environmental concerns or complaints, contact the EPA Environment Line on 131 555 or info@epa.nsw.gov.au

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