How to report a noise incident

You don’t have to notify EPA about a noise-only emission.

Community or businesses impacted noise can report noise pollution to EPA.

You must also report incidents that breach your business’s EPA licence conditions.

How to respond to a noise complaint

Complaints about noise are among the most common that EPA, local councils and businesses receive.  

People are likely to be impacted by the following noise: 

  • short, sharp noises such as hammering or metal-on-metal contact 
  • tonal noises such as humming, whining and buzzing 
  • low frequency noise. 

To respond to complaints about your business’s noise: 

  • find the source
  • use specialist equipment or walk around the site and listen to, or measure the emissions around the source
  • fix the cause of the noise
  • keep people who made the complaint informed, where you can.

Check and update your controls

The general environmental duty requires you to eliminate or reduce risk of harm to human health and the environment as far as reasonably practicable.

This means you should make sure controls you put in place to eliminate or reduce risks work as planned. Following a risk management process can help you do this.

Controls may fail due to lack of maintenance, poor implementation or changing site conditions.

If your controls are not working as planned, you need to find out why and act. This could mean you: 

  • review when and how often the control is maintained,
  • upgrade to a different control  
  • consider more controls.

To reduce your business’s noise there are some simple steps that you can take: 

  • regularly maintain your equipment
  • replace broken or damaged parts. 

To make sure your risk management is ongoing, you should continually repeat the risk management process.

Useful tips

Keep a log of noise complaint details. This can help you find the cause of the noise and improve your controls. Your log could include: 

  • complainant details, including name, address and contact numbers
  • noise details, including its intensity and how long it goes for
  • wind direction
  • time of day
  • what activities were being undertaken.

Keeping a log could also help you find an offsite source of noise where you have been unable to identify it onsite.

Read more about noise

About managing noise hazards and risks

What you can do to prevent harm from noise

Work-based noise examples

About noise

Reviewed 18 March 2021