Noise can be described as unwanted sound and can be annoying if it’s unreasonably interfering with the health, welfare, convenience, comfort or amenity of a person receiving the noise.
Noise is controlled by the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997, which stipulate a variety of control measures such as certain decibels levels for various times of day, characteristics of noise and certain noisy activities that are allowed within a given time frame.
Noise issues may be best resolved by having a friendly chat to your neighbour – they may not even be aware they are causing a problem! You can then both agree on appropriate measures or times of day that noise can be reasonably made. If you have tried to make contact with your neighbour and haven’t been able to come up with a solution, the Town’s Environmental Health Officers or the local police may be able to assist.
Dog barking is handled by the Town's Rangers. You will be required to submit a barking dog diary in order for the Town to investigate and verify your complaint. For further information please refer to the Barking dogs page.
Noise coming from a construction site is generally exempt from complying with assigned noise levels in the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 from Monday to Saturday between 7am and 7pm. However, construction occurring after these hours or on a Sunday or public holiday must comply with the assigned noise levels. Construction and demolition companies can apply for an out-of-hours noise exemption to the Chief Executive Officer, but these will only be approved with good justification such as safety concerns during normal hours.
Radios and stereo systems on a construction site are not exempt and must comply at all times with the assigned noise levels.
The Town doesn't generally deal with people noise; such as human voices from tradesman or labourers. You are encouraged to have a friendly discussion directly with the people involved. In the event that you are exposed to or threatened with abuse please contact the police.
Noise from parties and stereos can be especially disturbing, particularly if it is excessively loud or they happen regularly. Generally, one-off parties are accepted as normal activity by neighbours, but more frequent gatherings can be upsetting.
What should you do if you intend to hold a one-off party at your house?
- Inform your neighbours of the event including date, time of finish and a contact phone number. Generally, people will not mind noise from a celebration as long as it is a one-off event on a Friday or Saturday night, and it does not finish late.
- A party on weeknights and Sunday nights are generally not a good idea, but if there is no other time, then a 10pm finish is suggested. On Friday and Saturday nights the finish time should be no later than midnight.
- Start your party earlier so that it can finish earlier.
- Hold the party inside if possible and close all doors and windows.
- Move the party indoors after 10pm.
- Do not use speakers outside the house.
- Ensure that party goers do not cause a nuisance with offensive language or behaviour while at the party or when leaving.
Some commercial premises have delivery vehicles, regular rubbish removal and glass collection, forklifts operating and other loading dock noise which all have the potential to cause offensive noise. Entertainment venues such as pubs, nightclubs and function centres must ensure music or other entertainment does not cause a disturbance. Noise issues from licensed venues can be reported through the Director of Liquor Licensing under the Liquor Control Act 1988 and to the Town.
Noise from events must comply with the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997. Public event organisers can apply for an exemption to exceed the noise levels however under a 'Regulation 18 approval'. The Town can only issue two approvals at a venue in any consecutive 12 month period.
For large events that have a Regulation 18 noise approval, you can contact the events noise complaint line (this is a requirement as part of their approval). The noise officer on duty or acoustic consultant can attend your your complaint. For other minor events, if you report this after hours you will be transferred to the out-of-hours service where you can leave a message. Your complaint will be received by an Environmental Health Officer the next working day.
Noisy air conditioners are a common problem especially in high density residential areas where they are often sited in the wrong position, close to neighbours bedrooms. can disturb neighbours. The noise can disrupt sleep, interfere with normal daily activities and can have significant impacts on people's health. Over time air conditioners are subject to wear and tear and can become noisy.
Installation of an air conditioner that emits unreasonable noise is illegal and installers can face significant penalties. Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 places the responsibility on installers to ensure that an air conditioner does not emit unreasonable noise.
The Fair Air website has an online noise calculator which can assist with checking compliance when siting an air conditioner on a property. AIRAH (Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating) also has best practice guideline.
Power tools and lawnmowers etc
'Specified equipment' – equipment that requires the constant presence of an operator for normal use for example, power tools, lawn mower – is only allowed to be used from Monday to Saturday from 7am to 7pm, and Sundays and public holidays from 9am to 7pm. Specified equipment must be used in a reasonable manner and for no longer than two hours per day. This allows householders to complete general maintenance and repairs on their property.
Noise from waste collection is exempt from compliance with noise levels in the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 from 7am-7pm Monday to Saturday and 9am-7pm Sundays or public holidays. Outside of these hours, waste collection companies including Councils, must apply for an exemption.
Traffic noise on public roads is exempt from compliance with the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997. Concerns about noisy trucks, cars, buses and motorbikes are addressed in the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014, which provide uniform allowable limits and standard procedures to verify vehicle noise emissions. Problems with individual noisy vehicles can be directed to the local police.
Vehicles on private property are subject to the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997. If you have concerns over a noise nuisance from a private property within the Town (such as regular over-revving) please contact the Town’s Environmental Health Officers.
Where cumulative traffic noise along major roads is an issue, contact Main Roads on 138 135.
The Perth to Armadale train line runs through the Town. Noise emitted from train services is exempt from the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997.
Occasionally maintenance is required on the tracks and is usually conducted outside of normal service hours so as to not cause disruption to normal train services. The Public Transport Authority is required to apply for a noise exemption in these circumstances. They must provide a Noise Management Plan to the Town including projected noise levels, maps of the residents who may be affected, efforts to minimise noise disruption, and notification to all affected residents. The Noise Management Plan is then assessed by the Town’s Environmental Health Officers and approved by the Chief Executive Officer.
For further information contact the Public Transport Authority on (08) 9326 2000.
Aircraft noise is exempt from complying with the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997. Occasionally Perth Airport will test new flight paths, so you may notice an increase in planes over your property.
For further information contact Airservices Australia on 1800 802 584 or make a complaint via their online form.
Boat noise is exempt from complying with the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997. The Town is home to the WA Speed Boat Club which operates on the river in Burswood.
Any boat noise complaints can be reported to the Swan River Trust on (08) 9219 9000.
Vehicle reversing beepers are exempt from the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 as these are safety devices required to alert persons of a moving vehicle that the driver may not be able to see behind them.
Alarms offer home owners several benefits including ‘peace of mind’ that their property is protected. However they can also cause distress if they continue to be activated unnecessarily and result in frequent complaints both to the police and local authorities. You will need to make sure your alarm system is maintained in proper working order to prevent it activating unnecessarily.
Under Section 99 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986, the police have powers to enter any premises where an alarm has been sounding for 30 minutes. They can enter the premises and arrange for the alarm to be deactivated and the cost can be recovered from the owner of the house or business.
If you are regularly disturbed by alarm noise, or the alarm duration exceeds 30 minutes or it is after hours please contact the police. The Town’s Environmental Health Officers can assist you to resolve the matter but are unable to enter the premises to disarm the unit.
Under the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997, the playing of musical instruments is permitted from:
- 7am and 7pm, Monday to Saturday
- 9am and 7pm on a Sunday or on a public holiday.
Instruments should not cause a nuisance to your neighbours and should be used in a reasonable manner. Consider sound-proofing a room, using electronic drum kits with headphones, or using a proper studio instead of your residential premises.
To report a neighbourhood noise issue, please call Customer Service on (08) 9311 8111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your request will be allocated to an Environmental Health Officer or Ranger for follow-up. You may be required to submit a log sheet of the recurring noise, which can be used as evidence and in assisting any investigation.
If you report this after hours via phone you will be transferred to the out-of-hours service where you can leave a message. If there is a Ranger available they will attend, however they are not authorised noise officers so take action but can collect evidence. Your complaint will be received by an Environmental Health Officer the next working day.
For anti-social behaviour (including used of foul language) and noisy parties after hours, please contact the Police (they are also authorised noise officers).
Please note that the Town will not deal with one-off party noise complaints.