Towong Shire

Dealing with Neighbourhood Noise

Noise from Residential Premises

The use of lawn mowers, power tools and musical instruments, barking of dogs, loud and constant arguments, air conditioning units, amplified music - all are common noise problems that affect people in neighbouring premises. When efforts to talk to the person responsible for the noise have failed, the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic) (EPA) may provide relief.

Keeping a diary of when and how long the particular noise occurs is a practical and useful record to support any complaint you make. 

Environment Protection Act

Section 48A of the EPA makes it an offence for a person to cause or allow unreasonable noise to be emitted from residential premises. This Section also covers unreasonable noise arising from the construction of residential premises.

Complaints should be directed to a member of the police force or to a municipal officer, not to the Environment Protection Authority of Victoria.  An EPA Victoria officer has no jurisdiction to investigate a complaint. The police or council officer will attempt to resolve the problem and, if this fails and they are satisfied the noise is unreasonable, they may proceed in the Magistrates' Court.

A complainant who is not satisfied with the attempts made to resolve the dispute may take their own court action.

The court (as the final arbiter) can take into account a wide range of factors when determining whether noise is unreasonable, including:

  • The volume of the noise;
  • Its intensity or duration; and
  • The time, place and other circumstances in which it is emitted.

The Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008 (Vic) prohibit the use of a range of items during specified hours. They include the use of motor vehicles, lawn mowers, power tools, domestic air conditioners, record players and musical instruments.

In some cases, noise can be so disturbing that immediate action is required. In such a case ring the local police station. A police officer who is satisfied after investigating the complaint that the noise is unreasonable can enter the premises from which the noise is being emitted and direct a person to stop or reduce the noise.

Where a prescribed item is in use during a period that is prohibited for that item under the Regulations, the officer can issue an on-the-spot fine.

Useful links for more detailed information:

http://www.lawhandbook.org.au/handbook/ch10s02s08.php

http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/noise/residential-noise/residential-noise-law

 

Last updated: 14 March 2014