Noise and the law

A person who emits or allows noise to be emitted, which interferes with the health, welfare or amenity of any person commits an offence.

The Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 sets the standards for what is and isn’t acceptable noise.

Please note, domestic abuse, traffic noise, security alarms and party noise complaints cannot be addressed by the Shire of Harvey.

Agricultural machinery

Most activities on agricultural premises that occur for the purposes of farming, are exempt from the Noise Regulations. While there are exemptions for these, certain conditions apply. Please refer to the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 for more information.

Barking dogs

Dog barking complaints can be investigated by the Shire Rangers. Refer to Dog owners responsibilities for more information.

Community events

In most cases noise emitted from community events, such as spectators at a sporting event or fairs, are exempt from complying with the Noise Regulations.

Exemptions are often granted to permit concerts, live bands and fireworks, where the event would lose its character if the noise wasn’t allowed to exceed permitted decibel levels. In these cases, the event is advertised to surrounding residents, and conditions are set to ensure the noise finished at a reasonable time.

Construction noise

Noise from construction work is permitted during the hours of 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday and subject to specific conditions.

Noise from building sites does not have to meet the permitted decibel levels during those times, provided they are conducted in the quietest reasonable manner. No works creating noise are permitted on Sundays or public holidays.

Stereos used on constructions sites are not permitted if they are causing a nuisance. These are not exempt from the permitted decibel levels.

Construction or maintenance works such as roadworks outside the permitted hours, may be approved by the Shire subject to valid reasons for work needing to be done out of hours.

Complaints can often be resolved by contacting the builder or company. Their contact details are usually displayed on a sign in front of the property.

Domestic disturbances

The Shire cannot investigate noises associated with antisocial behaviour such as vehicle burn outs, loud vehicles, swearing, domestic disturbances, loud voices, smashing bottles etc. Please contact the WA Police.

Motorcycles and ATVs

On private property, off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can cause a nuisance to surrounding residents.

The use of these vehicles is allowed under the following conditions:

  • For no more than 2 hours per day (intended to be in a 2-hour block, rather than short bursts throughout the day totalling 2 hours)
  • Between the hours of 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am and 7pm Sundays and public holidays
  • Does not unreasonably interfere with the health and comfort of an occupier of premises receiving the noise.

Musical instruments

Musical instruments can be used:

  • For no more than 1 hour per day (continuous 1-hour block, rather than short bursts throughout the day totalling 1 hour)
  • Between the hours of 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am and 7pm Sundays and public holidays

Always play the instrument inside and keep all windows and doors closed.

Parties

The Shire cannot investigate noise related to loud parties. If noise coming from a party is unreasonable please contact the WA Police.

Roosters

Roosters, geese or ganders, turkey, peacock and peahens are not permitted without written approval of the Shire.

If you are being woken early by a rooster crowing, please identify the property that the rooster is on before lodging a health complaint.

An address of the alleged offender is required before an investigation can be started.

Security alarms

The Environmental Protection Act 1986 gives WA Police the power to silence audible alarms. If a Police Officer is satisfied that the alarm has been causing unreasonable noise for at least 30 minutes, they may take whatever reasonable steps necessary to stop the alarm.

Stereos

The best way to see if your stereo is too loud is to go outside and listen for it at the dividing fence line. If the lyrics or beat can be heard at the property boundary then it will not meet the permitted levels and is likely to be causing a nuisance to neighbours and a complaint can be lodged.

Subwoofers are often what cause the greatest disturbances to your neighbours, due to the repetition of the beat. The bass cannot be blocked by closing windows or doors and can travel longer distance often disturbing people several houses away.

Tools and gardening equipment

There are many types of equipment commonly used on residential properties for maintenance, gardening and hobbies that can create excessive noise. 

The noise laws permit the use of specified equipment; meaning any piece of equipment that requires the constant presence of an operator for normal use.

Types of specified equipment include lawnmowers, power tools, blower vacs and hammers, etc.

The use of this equipment is allowed under the following conditions:

  • For no more than 2 hours per day (intended to be in a 2-hour block, rather than short bursts throughout the day totalling 2 hours)
  • Between the hours of 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am and 7pm Sundays and public holidays
  • Does not unreasonably interfere with the health and comfort of an occupier of premises receiving the noise.

More information and contacts

For more information please contact us.

Related legislation