What is Noise
Noise is unwanted sound — barking dogs, loud music, passing traffic. Studies show that over 40 percent of Australians are disturbed at home or lose sleep because of noise pollution.
Everyone reacts differently to noise. What can be unbearable for one person may pass almost unnoticed by another. How annoyed we become depends on the loudness, time, place and frequency of noise. Distinct features of noise, such as screeches or rumbles, are also important.
Noise is measured on the decibel scale. Noise levels, referred to as decibels on the (A) scale (written as dB(A)) are a good indicator of people’s response to noise.
State government regulations state that our maximum daily noise dose should be no more than the equivalent of 85dB(A) for eight hours a day. Permanent hearing damage is likely to occur if this daily dose is exceeded repeatedly.
Noise in the environment is controlled through the Environmental Protection Act 1994 at http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/Legislation.htm and local government laws at http://www.lgp.qld.gov.au/Default.aspx?ID=134. Further useful information may be obtained at the Environmental Protection Agency's website at http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/environmental_management/noise_and_nuisance/nuisance_laws/.
Open, light house construction is suitable for Queensland’s climate but allows noise and vibration to enter and travel between rooms. Noise from outside sources can be reduced by keeping windows closed or having windows double glazed.
These options are generally not appropriate in warmer climates, so sound barriers such as solid front fences may be useful alternatives.
Before you choose a place to live, visit at different times of the day to check for noise. Good planning by local government will prevent residential areas being subjected to noisy industry, commercial developments and through traffic. Older residential areas may have long-standing problems. The environmental nuisance laws comprise a set of amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008. They include a number of offences for noise, dust, odour, fumes, ash, light and smoke nuisances.
Solving noise problems
Many noise problems can be prevented by considering others and talking through problems. If you feel you need help approaching neighbours about noise problems, or difficulties arise when you do, consider contacting the Community Justice Program. This Queensland Government initiative provides trained mediators to help sort disputes. Phone (07) 3239 6007 or 1800 017 288 toll-free.
What the laws cover
The laws specify conditions, hours of operation and/or noise levels for a number of activities relating to:
· barking dogs;
· building works;
· lawn mowers;
· power tools;
· refrigeration plants;
· indoor venues;
· open-air events;
· amplified devices;
· air-conditioners; and
· swimming pool pumps.
The laws also cover the unreasonable release of various emissions including:
· smoke from wood fired heaters;
· dust from construction or clearing;
· light from lighting of premises;
· ash from burning;
· odour from rubbish/compost piles; and
· emissions from numerous other activities.
What the laws DO NOT cover
The law DOES NOT apply to activities that are already covered by other legislation. Examples of these activities and the relevant administering authority include:
· Noise from amplified music and musical instruments, parties, and vehicles (off road) — Queensland Police Service.
· Noise from nightclubs and other licensed premises — Department of Tourism, Sport and Racing.
· Noise from Aircraft — Air Services Australia.
Exemptions also apply to:
· Audible traffic signals at traffic lights.
· Certain cooking odours (e.g. from residential dwellings).
· Animal noise (other than domestic animals).
· Regulated devices on state controlled roads and railways.
· Certain emissions associated with activities organized by or for educational facilities.
· Certain noise emissions carried out in accordance with a relevant code of practice.
· Noise authorised under an Environmental Protection Policy, Environmental Management Program,
· Environmental Protection Order or an Emergency Direction.
· Emissions caused by environmentally relevant activities carried out under a development approval or environmental authority.
Investigating and enforcing the Regulation
Responsibility for handling nuisance complaints is the responsibility of Local Government, please refer to Council’s Nuisance pamphlet for further information. You can find it on our website at: http://www.hinchinbrook.qld.gov.au/web/guest/nuisance-regulations .
Lodging a complaint
A formal complaint must be received before council can investigate allegations of environmental nuisance. Frivolous or vexatious complaints will not be investigated.
NOTE - To lodge a complaint, people MUST be willing to identify themselves and provide details of the nuisance to DERM or council.
To log a request or for further information about this please contact Environmental Health Services on 4776 4607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .