Excessive Noise

Excessive Noise

Noise impacts on us all every day and we each react differently depending on our circumstances and personal sensitivities.

While noise is part of life in a productive working environment, it is important to always be considerate to neighbouring residents.

Situations that can upset neighbours include loud music, drums, machinery, equipment such as air conditioners, refrigeration units, pool/spa pumps or factories, car/building alarms or animals such as barking dogs.

Various legislation including the Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Act, Environmental Planning and Assessment Act set out restricted times of use where if noise is excessive outside the noise guidelines would constitute an offence for the person responsible for the noise where it is offensive or intrusive if it can be heard in an adjoining residence.

Times during which restrictions apply

Type of Noise

Times during which restrictions apply

Power tools including swimming / spa pool pump

Before 8:00am and after 8:00pm on Sundays or Public Holidays. Before 7:00am or after 8:00pm on any other day. 

Air conditioners and heat pump water heaters

Before 8:00am and after 10:00pm on Saturdays, Sundays or Public Holidays. Before 7:00am or after 10:00pm on any other day.

Musical instruments and electrical amplified sound equipment

Before 8:00am and after midnight on any Friday, Saturday or the day immediately before a Public Holiday. Before 7:00am or after 8:00pm on any other day.

Motor vehicle and building intruder alarms

Intruder alarms used in cars and buildings can often disturb neighbours. The Council or police can issue a penalty notice for an alarm that sounds continuously or intermittently. The penalty for an individual is:

  • $200 if the alarm sounds for up to 4 hours;
  • $400 if the alarm sounds for 4 to 8 hours;
  • $600 if it sounds for longer than 8 hours.

Motor Vehicle use on residential premises (does not apply to vehicle entering or leaving a premises)

Before 8:00am or after 8:00pm on Saturdays, Sundays or Public Holidays. Before 7:00am or after 8:00pm on any other day.

Vehicle noise includes noise from exhaust systems, engines, horns, brakes and sounds systems. Offensive noise can be due to a lack of maintenance, deliberate tampering or inappropriate use. There is a range of offences and penalties under the Act, and the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999.

Refrigeration unit fitted to a motor vehicle

Before 8:00am or after 8:00pm on any Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday. Before 7:00am or after 8:00pm on any other day.

Lawn Mowers

Before 7:00am or after 8:00pm on Sundays or Public Holidays. Before 7:00am or after 8:00pm on any other day.


Noise complaints in residential areas often relate to barking dogs. If mediation with a dog owner is unsuccessful, the Council can be asked to investigate. After examining evidence, if a Council officer investigates and decides the complaint is justified, they can issue a nuisance order to the dog owner, under the Companion Animals Act 1988. The order, which remains in force for six months, must state the nature of the nuisance and what needs to be done to rectify it.

If the owner does not comply with the order, they can be fined up to $880 for the first offence and up to $1,650 for each subsequent offence.

The penalty for a breach is a $200 fine for an individual, or a $400 fine for a corporation. The maximum penalty a court can impose is a $5,500 fine for an individual or an $11,000 fine for a corporation.

Council and individual's responsibilities

Council is the ARA (Appropriate Regulatory Authority) in dealing with noise complaints for non-scheduled activities.

Council is responsible under the Protection of the Environment Act and under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act for ensuring that certain activities and developments appropriately manage noise so as not to cause a nuisance or harm to others.

Prior to lodging a noise complaint with Council, it is important for you to have attempted to resolve the issue yourself by talking with the owner or person responsible for the noisy activity. Neighbours may be unaware of the discomfort you are experiencing and in most instances will try assist in resolving the issue.

If you have tried this but continue to be impacted by unreasonable noise you can contact Council’s Building, Planning and Health team on 02 6953 0911 or email council@leeton.nsw.gov.au

Council is provided with a range of enforcement options including the service of a Noise Control Notice, Noise Abatement Direction, Prevention Notice, and / or Compliance Cost Notice. Non-compliance with these notice/s may lead to legal action being instituted or a penalty infringement notice being issued.

It should be noted that noise-generating activities undertaken by public authorities such as Council, the Roads and Traffic Authority, State Rail Authority, and Sydney Water etc are not the responsibility of Council, but are the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

A significant number of noise complaints are received and investigated by Council each year. The complaints reflect the various situations, whether they are mechanically generated or human activities, in which a person's awareness of and tolerance towards a noise source are subjected.

How to make a noise complaint?

Residents wishing to have a noise matter investigated can contact Council's Building, Planning and Health team on 02 6953 0911 or by email council@leeton.nsw.gov.au

All complaints are dealt with confidentially, however complainants should be aware that, in some circumstances, should a matter subsequently involve legal action, a written statement and / or court appearance by the complainant may be required.

In all cases, the Council officer responsible will endeavour to negotiate a solution to the situation without recourse to enforcement actions, however in some circumstances, Council may use regulatory powers under the Protection of the Environment Act 1997 to resolve noise issues.

Additional information in regard to noise issues is available from the Environment Protection Authority by phoning 131 555 or from the NSW Environment Protection Authority website.