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Environmental Nuisances


What is a Environmental Nuisance?

Environmental nuisance is:

Unreasonable interference (or likely interference) with an environmental value caused by emissions of aerosols, fumes, light, noise, odour, particles (including dust) or smoke; or

Unhealthy, offensive or unsightly conditions caused by contamination. Environmental values include the amenity of a place, such as a house, that make it suitable for anyone to sleep, study or relax there. These values can be affected by noise, dust, odour or light.


What Are Sources of Environmental Nuisance?

Noise from:

  • barking dogs;
  • building works;
  • lawn mowers;
  • power tools;
  • refrigeration plants;
  • indoor venues;
  • open-air events;
  • amplified devices;
  • air-conditioners; and
  • swimming pool pumps.

Emissions from:

  • 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 Can Council Do About Environmental Nuisance?

Council can respond to your complaint or can take action against someone causing an environmental nuisance. Council will use noise and emission standards, such as audibility, duration, and frequency of noise; frequency and intensity of exposure to dust; or the nature and strength of odours, to decide if there is an environmental nuisance. Council can act against people or organisations causing the environmental nuisance. This can include making them change their activities, pay a fine, and even taking them to court.


What Are The Exceptions?

Some situations are not managed by council—you will have to contact a different authority.  

Noise from parties, cars, house alarms and trail bikes—call the Queensland Police Service.

Noise from licensed premises such as hotels and nightclubs—contact the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation in the Department of Justice and Attorney-General by phone on (07) 3224 7108 or email compliance@olgr.qld.gov.au. Complaints can also be made using the online complaint form available at www.olgr.qld.gov.au (search for online complaint).

Noise from Aircraft —call Air Services Australia.

Noise 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.

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: hschealth@hinchinbrook.qld.gov.au.


More Information About Nuisances

If you need more information about nuisance, download the Nuisance Information Pamphlet

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