About noise legislation
Under the Environment Protection Act 2017, the following three areas are central to noise legislation.
General environmental duty
The general environmental duty requires you to reduce the risk of harm to human health and the environment from your pollution and waste.
Noise comes under the category of pollution, and it includes vibration. As far as reasonably practicable, if your activity involves noise it’s your duty to reduce the levels of risk.
You must not emit unreasonable noise from any place or premises. Determining if noise is unreasonable involves considering:
- volume – how far the noise spreads
- intensity – how loud or how many decibels the noise is
- duration – how long the noise lasts
- character – what the noise sounds like
- time, place and other circumstances in which the noise is emitted
- how often the noise is emitted
- any prescribed factors, including low frequency noise from industry.
Specific requirements apply to noise from:
It’s an offence to emit aggravated noise. For commercial, industrial and trade premises and entertainment venues, aggravated noise is a noise emission that far exceeds the noise limits used for unreasonable noise.
About noise under the Regulations
The Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (the Regulations) set out what is unreasonable and aggravated noise from:
The Regulations also outline standards and test methods for motor vehicle air and noise emissions.
Reviewed 1 December 2021