Noise Pollution

Noise pollution is defined as a noise source that is intrusive and/or offensive, where the noise source exceeds the criteria as defined under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

If you are interested in purchasing an air conditioner it is important that the noise it makes when operating does not intrude on your neighbours.

Domestic air conditioners cannot be operated at certain times if it can be heard inside any habitable room of another residential premises. If it can be heard inside the residential dwelling, you cannot operate your air conditioner between these times:

  • Between 10pm and 7am weekdays; and
  • Between 10pm and 8am weekends and public holidays.

Ways you can reduce the noise impact of your air conditioner:

  • Regularly service your air conditioner;
  • Install an acoustic enclosure; and
  • Erect a solid fence or barrier around the unit.

Make sure your house is well insulated so that the unit does not have to be used often. What if my neighbour has an air-conditioner?

If your neighbour has an air conditioner that disturbs you, there are a number of options available to you.

Let the neighbour know that the air conditioner noise is a problem, as they may not be aware it is an issue.  You may be able to find a solution such as putting up a barrier between the air conditioner and the house.

If this does not work and you are still being disturbed by the air conditioner you can call Council's Customer Contact Centre on 1300 36 2170.  Council will take down your compliant and investigate the matter.

Neighbourhood noise, such as parties, loud music, air conditioners or power tools can be very annoying. The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and regulations there under outlines acceptable time restrictions on certain activities.

If neighbourhood noise is a genuine problem for you, firstly try to solve the problem amicably by talking it over with whoever is causing the noise. Often people don't realise they are causing a problem, they may be only too happy to do what they can to help. If this approach is not successful and where noise is a recurrent problem, you may, depending on the circumstances, consider contacting the Community Justice Centre (CJC). This is a government-funded, independent centre that specialises in settling differences between neighbours through mediation without getting into complicated legal processes.

The CJC can be contacted by telephoning 1800 650 987.

The Liquor Administration Board manages noise from licensed premises such as bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants that serve liquor. Noise conditions are placed on their licenses to ensure they or their patrons do not disturb the amenity of the local neighbourhood.

To place a complaint contact the local police or the Liquor Administration Board on 9995 0300 or visit Liquor and Gaming NSW for related information.

Council continues to actively enforce noise complaints and this, combined with education, helps to ensure effective noise control. The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 gives council officers the power to investigate and/or fine noise polluters. Council officers can issue Noise Abatement Orders, Noise Abatement Directions and Noise Control Notices.

If you would like to make a noise complaint please phone our Customer Contact Centre on 1300 36 2170.

Some sources of noise have restricted times when you are not able to make these noises. The following table outlines these times:

sources of noise and their restricted times
Noise Hours permitted
  • Power tools
  • Powered garden tools
  • Compressors
  • Leaf blowers
  • Circular saws
  • Electric or pneumatic tools
  • Chain saws
  • Gas or air compressors
  • Lawn mowers
  • Swimming pool and spa pumps
  • Monday to Saturday
    7am to 8pm
  • Sunday and public holidays
    8am to 8pm
  • Musical instruments and sound equipment
    (radios, TVs, tape recorders, record or compact
    disc players, public address systems, computer games)
  • Monday to Thursday & Sunday
    8am to 10pm
  • Friday, Saturday or day immediately before a public holiday
    8am to 12am
  • Air conditioners
  • Monday to Friday
    7am to 10pm
  • Weekends and public holidays
    8am to 10pm
  • Motor vehicles
  • Trucks*
    (Except when leaving or entering residential premises)

* Does not apply to the normal functioning of residential waste and recycling collection vehicles in the ordinary course of their work in residential areas.

  • Monday to Friday
    7am to 8pm
  • Weekends and public holidays
    8am to 8pm
  • Refrigeration units fitted to a motor vehicle
  • Monday to Friday
    7am to 8pm
  • Weekends and public holidays
    8am to 8pm
  • Burglar alarm
  • Call Police

Outside these hours restrictions can be placed on using these articles if they cause offensive noise.  Offensive noise is defined as 'that, by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances:

  1. Is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or
  2. Interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with) the comfort or repose of a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted.

To deem the noise offensive Council may need to conduct a noise measurement, should this indicate non-compliance a Noise Control Notice may be issued.

Should you wish to take action independently of Council you can contact the Local Court to seek a noise abatement order (fees apply).

For further information on noise, visit the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website.