Give Your Feedback on the Draft Noise Guide for Local Councils

What do you do if your neighbour insists on using the leaf blower early in the morning or likes to do home renovation works in the morning or in the evening.  Who is responsible for assisting with noise complaints?  What is Lane Cove Council’s role in regulating construction noise?

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking public feedback on their new Noise Guide for Local Councils (the Guide). The Guide is designed to help councils manage noise by understanding the legislation, responsibilities and available management options.

It offers day-to-day advice for local governments on how to respond to community noise issues and acts as a resource for the community to explain noise pollution management. It provides regulatory and non-regulatory options to manage noise alongside a legal framework for noise control for councils and the community.

Why Have Noise Guidelines for Local Councils?

The Draft Noise Guide for Local Government provides practical guidance on the day-to-day management of common noise issues, which are generally managed by councils and:

  • explains the regulatory framework in NSW to manage noise, including who is responsible for managing noise from different sources;
  • outlines regulatory and non-regulatory options to manage common noise issues;
  • provides supporting information such as technical advice, including an overview of acoustics and noise measurements; the role of noise policies and guidelines to assess and manage noise; and
  • advice on managing community expectations and complaints.

The Guide is not a statutory document but is to assist councils when determining how to respond to noise issues in their area.

This Guide updates a document published in 2013 of the same name, based on continual feedback from council officers. It has been redesigned to make it easier for councils to find information on the legislative framework to manage noise, who is responsible for managing noise, and what options are available to do so.

The Guide has also been updated to reflect changes introduced by the Protection of the Environment (Noise Control) Regulation 2017 and other legislative changes since the previous version of the Guide.

How is the Guide Structured?

The Guide is structured in three parts as follows.

Part 1 provides an overview of the regulatory and non-regulatory options to manage noise through a range of flow charts and fact-sheets which offer advice on common noise issues. Part 1 also includes a quick reference guide to help identify the appropriate regulatory authority for various sources of noise.

Part 2 supports Part 1 by providing an overview of the legal framework for noise control. It also provides a helpful overview of the legislative framework for the community and other stakeholders.

Part 3 provides supporting information, including an overview of acoustic principles and noise measurement and advice on non-regulatory options to manage noise.

Who Benefits From the Guide?

For councils: contemporary guidance with a refreshed design to help councils navigate options to manage noise issues for which they are responsible, along with updates to information on the legislative noise control framework and supporting information.

For the community: the updated Guide will assist the council to effectively manage noise issues and also provides a helpful resource to the community to explain who and how noise can be managed.

The Guide has been designed to meet the needs of the council.

However, it may also be helpful for:

  • government agencies responsible for managing noise in certain circumstances, for example, NSW Police and Transport for NSW (RMS)
  • community members affected by noise seeking to understand who may be responsible for the management of certain noise in specific circumstances and what regulatory (and non-regulatory) options are available to council (or other regulatory authorities) to resolve noise issues
  • acoustic consultants who may be required to prepare noise assessments.
  • Public consultation on the Draft Noise Guide for Local Government is now open.
  • We want to get your feedback to make sure the updated and redesigned Guide:
  • makes it easier to navigate options for managing noise
  • provides enough supporting information for councils
  • adequately clarifies the NSW legislative noise control framework
  • helps the community understand who is responsible for managing noise
  • Provide your feedback by completing the survey below

How Do I Provide Feedback?

You can fill out a survey online here.

The survey should take you about 10 minutes to complete. You are not required to answer every question.

If you would prefer to provide feedback by email, send your submission to [email protected]

Construction Noise Update

On 30 July 2021, the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces signed a new Order, the Environmental Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development—Construction Work Days) Order (No 3) 2021 (Order), which allows construction works to occur Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

The new Order follows the recent pause on construction activity, which was necessary to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The NSW Government states the order will ensure the continued safe delivery of new homes, transport, job-generating projects and community facilities. This is necessary to help the industry get back on its feet and support the economy.

While the Order extends the days construction work can occur, the industry will still need to adhere to any requirements specified in any orders made under the Public Health Act 2010. If there is any inconsistency between this Order and a public health order, the public health order prevails.

The Order seeks to find the right balance between protecting the public health needs of the general community and providing continued support to the building and construction industry to ensure they can continue operate during the pandemic in accordance with public health requirements and the necessary social distancing and hygiene practices. The Order allows work to be staggered across the week to minimise the risk of workers being affected by COVID-19.

Extended construction workdays and hours for development authorised under the Infrastructure Construction Work Days Order and Health Services Facilities Order continues as per their respective orders.

Leaf Blower Wars

At the July 2021 Waverly Council Meeting, an action group called Bondi Beach Precinct presented a submission to the council, calling to ban blowers and petrol-powered tools like whipper snippers.  You can read the submission here.

Local Greens Councillor Dominic Wy Kanak raised the Bondi Beach Precinct’s submission in a notice of motion.

The notice of motion outlined the psychological and health impacts the petrol-powered leaf blowers inflicted upon the Bondi community, claiming the gas-guzzlers noise levels reached ‘hundreds of times above the World Health Organisation Australia maximums’.

The submission also called for other mechanical garden tools not to be used until after 9 am.

Waverley Council did not support the submission, but they did say they put more information about blower regulations on their website.

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