Businesses must comply with the general environmental duty to take reasonable steps to minimise harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste, including noise.
Businesses must not cause unreasonable noise or aggravated noise. They must make sure that any noise from their activities or premises doesn’t unreasonably impact the local community. This includes being responsible for contractors or tradespeople they hire.
EPA’s ‘Applying the Noise Framework’ guidance series
EPA has published a comprehensive guidance series for business and community. The series explores how the environment protection framework (laws and regulations) apply to noise. The series covers:
- how different sources of noise are regulated under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (for example, music noise vs industrial noise)
- how noise can be assessed (using qualitative ‘common sense’ assessment and quantitative technical measurements)
- how the different environment protection laws interact (the general environmental duty versus the duty not to emit unreasonable noise)
- examples of how you can comply with these laws and regulations
Two parts of the series are relevant to commercial, industrial and trade noise:
Unreasonable noise guidelines
These guidelines explains the concept of unreasonable noise, including pathways for determining if noise is unreasonable, and how they work with the general environmental duty. It also includes case study examples of compliance, enforcement and resolution of noise pollution events. For information visit, unreasonable noise guidelines.
Commerce, industry, and trade noise guidelines
A comprehensive explanation of how the Environment Protection Act 2017 (section 25, section 166 and section 168) and the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (Part 5.3, Division 3) apply to noise from commercial, industrial and trade premises. For information visit, Commerce, industry and trade noise guidelines.
Complying with noise limits
Under the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (Part 5.3, Division 3) noise from commercial, industrial and trade premises is unreasonable if it exceeds the noise limits.
Compliance with the noise limits is assessed using the Noise limit and assessment protocol for the control of noise from commercial, industrial and trade premises and entertainment venues (publication 1826) (Noise Protocol).
Aggravated noise is a serious offence and significant penalties apply. Noise from commercial, industrial and trade premises is aggravated noise if it exceeds the noise limit by a certain amount.
Find out more about commercial, industrial and trade noise limits for business.
About EPA actions to control noise from businesses
EPA uses its remedial powers to deal with risks of harm to human health and the environment and unreasonable noise, including a business exceeding the noise limits. These remedial powers include statutory remedial notices to:
- take action necessary to comply
- stop an activity
- carry out investigations.
Find out more about EPA’s remedial powers.
Read more about commercial, industrial and trade noise
Reviewed 16 November 2021