Issue of Noise and related legislation

Taken from Environment Protection Policy (Noise) (Minister of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Bryan Green, MHA):

Noise has become an increasingly, significant environmental issue. The quality of the acoustic environment may affect our work, leisure and sleep. There is a need to identify means of preventing noise nuisance and deterioration of the noise environment.

The Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA) is the primary environment protection legislation in Tasmania. The focus of the Act is to prevent environmental harm from pollution and waste management.

In accordance with this Act:
"noise" includes vibration.
"environmental nuisance" means the emission of a pollutant that unreasonably interferes with, or is likely to unreasonably interfere with, a person's enjoyment of the environment.

It is an offence under the Act to cause an environmental nuisance. In constituting an offence under this Act, consideration must be given to the volume, intensity or duration and the time, place and other circumstances in which it is emitted. In the case of noise emitted from a residential premises, it is whether it can be heard in a habitable room in any other premises.

Please note that there are differences between neighbour disputes and causing an environmental nuisance.

The Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment has prepared a Draft Environment Protection Policy (Noise).

The chief objective of the Policy is to achieve and maintain the objectives set out in Schedule 1 of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 in relation to Tasmania's acoustic environment.

The Policy contains the following provisions:

  • acoustic environmental values;
  • acoustic environmental quality objectives (noise levels which should not, ideally, be exceeded at specified receptor premises);
  • noise requirements for industry, transport infrastructure and selected activities;
  • noise requirements for miscellaneous sources (off-road motor vehicles, motor vessels, garden machinery, heat pumps, power tools, etc) (similar to the existing Regulations);
  • requirements for noise sensitive developments; and
  • measurement and assessment requirements.

Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Noise) Regulations 2016:

They specify permissible times and noise levels for the use of mobile machinery, portable apparatus, lawn mowers and chainsaws. They also specify distances from residences for the use of chainsaws and off road vehicles.

Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Infringement Notices) Regulations 2004:

These Regulations provide the penalty units and the penalties to be imposed under different specified Regulations and the EMPCA.

For a greater explanation of environmental nuisances and the associated penalties, please refer to Council's information pamphlet.

Are you having problems with noise?

If you are having problems with noise, Council recommends that you first contact the person or company making the noise. The friendly approach is always the best! They may not be aware that it is causing a problem for you.

Please note that there is a difference between neighbour disputes and causing an environmental nuisance.

A neighbour dispute may be an activity which is annoying but otherwise harmless. An environmental nuisance causes unreasonable interference. Basically, it is an activity which causes more of a problem than a reasonable person should be expected to put up with.

Council will not become involved in neighbour disputes. These are matters for trained mediators or individuals. Council may only become involved where it is shown that an environmental nuisance exists. However, the complainant must first demonstrate that an activity has caused, or is likely to cause, unreasonable interference.

If speaking to the person does not improve the situation, Council Environmental Services staff may be contacted to investigate the complaint. It is important to note that before Council is contacted, you should have a detailed diary of dates and times relating to when the noise has occurred and the address of where the problem is. This will assist in the investigation.

All complaints MUST be submitted in writing.

For further information, please phone (03) 6211 8200.

Environmental Nuisance Pamphlet

Noise - Information Pamphlet

Heat Pumps



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