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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:

  • building works
  • lawn mowers
  • power tools
  • refrigeration motors
  • indoor venues
  • open-air events
  • amplified devices
  • air-conditioners
  • 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
  • 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 and require that you contact an alternative authority.  These are listed below:

  • Noise caused by musical instruments, appliances for producing or amplifying music or other sounds, a motor vehicle that is not on a road, parties, cars, house alarms and trail bikes - call the Queensland Police Service, General Enquiries 131 444.
  • Noise from licensed premises such as hotels and nightclubs - contact the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Department of Justice and Attorney-General via http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/corporate/business-areas/liquor-gaming/contact-us/complaints.
  • Noise from Aircraft —call Air Services Australia, 1800 802 584.

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.

Please note that to lodge a complaint, people must be willing to identify themselves and provide details of the nuisance to DNRM 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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