Environmental pollutants such as dust and smoke can cause significant health issues including asthma and other respiratory problems. Other environmental pollutants such as noise can impact on the amenity of our community. Find out about the City of Stirling’s environmental safety services.

Noise

Sound is a part of everyday life, it provides enjoyment, it allows spoken communication, it can alter or warn us or it can annoy us. Sounds that are unpleasant or unwanted may be classed as noise.

How do you know when a sound is “noise”?
In general noise can be described as a sound that is unwanted. From a legal perspective noise is defined as “pollution” when the noise emissions exceed the assigned noise levels under the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 (the Regulations).

How is noise measured?
Noise is measured by using a sound level meter (SLM), an electronic instrument that is set to match the way humans judge the loudness of sound. The results are measured in decibels (dB).
Some examples of approximate noise levels are:
  • 100 dB Rock Concert (in audience)
  • 80 dB Kerbside of a busy highway
  • 60 dB Cars Passing (15m away)
  • 40 dB Distant suburban traffic
  • 20 dB Still night in the country
Assigned Levels
The Regulations specify assigned levels that need to be complied with at all times of the day. In summary, the day time assigned levels are more lenient and allow for more noise than the night time levels.

Noisy neighbours

The City’s Health and Compliance Unit investigates certain types of noise matters including noise from air conditioners, stereos, swimming pool pumps and construction sites. 
 
Specific information regarding various noise sources is detailed below. However, some types of noise such as children playing, loud voices and vehicles on the road are exempt from the Regulations and as such you will need to speak to your neighbour directly to resolve the matter. Noise in relation to abusive language, antisocial behaviour and out of control parties are matters for attention of the Police, they can be contacted on 131 444.
 
The City operates a security patrol service that can provide assistance with noise outside of office hours and can be contacted on 1300 365 356. Prior to reporting any noise complaint the City would normally expect that you approach your neighbour about the noise in the first instance. However, where this is not possible or no change results the City’s assistance can be requested by completing a Noise Investigation Request.
 
The City’s Noise Investigation Request form requires you to provide the City with accurate information such as; your name, address, contact details and the exact address of the alleged offending neighbour.  Anonymous noise requests will not be investigated as there must be a location receiving the noise. 

What happens from here?
Upon receipt of a completed Noise Investigation Request an Environmental Health Officer at the City will either contact you, or the alleged offender regarding your complaint within five (5) working days. 
Whilst your identity is not generally disclosed in proceedings, in certain circumstances the origin of complaint will be obvious or become known if noise measurements are required. Also, the alleged offender cannot be prevented from making their own assumptions.

It is expected that you continue to assist the City in the investigation, by your participation. This typically involves keeping detailed notes, requesting the attendance of City’s security patrol service and advising the noise officer where you believe the matter is unresolved. The noise officer dealing with your case will discuss possible actions and realistic timeframes. If you do not contact the officer within one (1) month then the case will be closed.

It is also possible for you to liaise directly with the alleged offender, or independently mediate an acceptable outcome without the City’s intervention.


Noise from construction sites

The Regulations specify assigned noise levels (in decibels) that vary depending upon the day of the week and time of day.
 
The assigned noise levels do not apply to noise emitted from a construction site as a result of construction work conducted between 7.00am and 7.00pm on any day which is not a Sunday or public holiday.
 
In instances where construction work needs to be done outside the above hours (e.g. major road works), the work may be permitted if a formal application is made to the City of Stirling.

Radios and stereo systems on a construction site are not exempt and must comply at all times with the assigned noise levels.

Work may be undertaken on a construction site on a Sunday or Public holiday as long as that work noise does not exceed the normal maximum noise levels.

Noise complaints about construction sites can be lodged via the City of Stirling Noise Investigation Request, available below under Forms and Information Sheets.
 

Specified equipment and musical instruments

"Specified equipment" is defined as any equipment which requires the constant presence of an operator for normal use.
 
Specified equipment therefore includes many common household items, including lawnmowers, power tools and musical instruments.
 
The assigned noise levels do not apply to noise emitted from residential premises from the use of specified equipment on any day if:
  • the equipment is used in a reasonable manner
  • the equipment has not been used for more than 2 hours or 1 hour for musical instruments since the beginning of the relevant day
  • the equipment is used:
    1. between 7.00am and 7.00pm on Monday to Saturday
    2. between 9.00am and 7.00pm on a Sunday and public holiday.
Noise complaints about specified equipment and musical instruments can be lodged via the City of Stirling Noise Investigation Request available below under Forms and Information Sheets.


Party noise

Music noise emitted from a party will generally exceed the assigned noise levels. Neighbours will in most cases tolerate 'one off parties' if they have been advised prior to the party of the following:
  • The date and likely duration (information such as likely start and finish times) of the party. Neighbours may choose to make alternative arrangements to go out for the evening.
  • The music will be switched off or turned down to a quiet level at midnight. This is generally accepted by the community but is not law.
  • A phone number to ring if the music gets too loud.
Even if the above guidelines are followed neighbours can still complain to the Police about noisy parties. For Police attendance please contact 131 444.

Residents are also encouraged to contact our security patrol service on 1300 365 356 who will attend and generate a report that will be forwarded to the Health and Compliance Unit for review the next working day.

The Police have powers to turn music off, issue infringements and/or confiscate equipment.

The customer can also lodge a noise complaint about stereo noise via our Noise Investigation Request Package available below under Forms and Information Sheets.
 

Audible alarms

The Environmental Protection Act 1986 gives Police the power to silence audible alarms that have been sounding for more than 30 minutes causing unreasonable noise. For further information download the brochure listed below under Forms and Information Sheets.


Community activities

Noise from the following community activities is considered exempt noise:
  1. Noise emitted by spectators at an organised sporting activity
  2. Noise emitted by participants and spectators at a meeting or procession which has been authorised under the Public Meetings and Processions Act 1984. 
  3. Noise emitted from church services, where the worship takes place on land which is exempt from rates because of its religious use.
  4. Noise emitted from a recreational or educational premises under control of the Principal. The activity may use musical instruments but not mechanical equipment.
  5. Noise emitted from agricultural shows, fairs, fetes, exhibitions and similar events.

Air-conditioners, pool pumps & other machinery

Air conditioners, pool pumps and other machinery need to comply with the assigned noise levels at all times.

With the reduction in size of the average block and consequent proximity of dwellings to each other it is imperative that property owners and installers locate air conditioners, pool pumps and other noisy machinery in the most suitable location.

If noise from machinery can be heard inside a neighbouring dwelling after 10pm, the noise will probably not comply with the assigned noise levels.

The Installers Guide to Air Conditioner Noise provides information to installers and residents regarding various factors that influence noise received by a neighbour. It is strongly recommended for consideration prior to the installation of an air conditioner, pool pump or other noisy equipment. Alternatively, you can visit www.fairair.com.au to assist your calculations.

Noise complaints about machinery can be lodged via the City of Stirling Noise Investigation Request available below under Forms and Information Sheets.
 

Barking dogs

Barking dogs are dealt with by the City's Rangers if you need to speak to someone for advice you can call 9205 8555.


Barking is a dog's natural means of communication and often signifies its alertness to danger or intruders. However, a dog that persistently barks in a manner which is not considered to be normally habitual in dogs constitutes a nuisance.


If a dog barks continually without reason, the cause may be lack of training, insufficient exercise, loneliness, inadequate shelter, ill health or deliberate or unintentional provocation by people or roaming dogs.


The City of Stirling fully appreciates that a barking dog can often severely disrupt people's lives and erodes their quality of life. However, the treatment and the solution of a barking dog is often a lengthy, difficult and complex issue to deal with.

 

Once we receive a complaint about a dog barking, the parties involved will receive information about how nuisance dog noise complaints are investigated and tips to remedy the situation. The dog owner will be contacted and given time to take measures to reduce the noise issue. If the barking subsides to an acceptable level, no further action will be taken at that time. If, after adequate time to address the issue, the dog is still causing a nuisance, the complainant will be asked to complete a "Dog Noise Diary". These diaries assist with the collection of evidence required to substantiate the issue of an abatement order and subsequent infringements for the dog owner.


Residents are encouraged to try to improve the barking situation by:

  • Politely speak to the dog owner and advise that their dog is causing a nuisance or 
  • Leaving a note in the letterbox giving the owners some information about the times the problem occurs.

Further noise information

The Department of Environmental Regulation is the state authority on noise and can also be contacted for information on noise. For further information about dealing with noise can be found on the Department of Environment Regulation website. 
 

Dust

The City of Stirling has a Local Law relating to the prevention and abatement of dust.
 
This law was developed to keep dust from activities undertaken on the land to a minimum by setting out requirements for effective dust control.
 
Under this local law the "occupier" of land (which includes but is not limited to builders and demolition contractors) must take effective measures to:
  • Stabilise dust on the land (site)
  • Ensure no dust is released or escapes from the land (whether by wind, water or any other cause).
Some suggestions for controlling dust are to:
  • Apply water or a binding agent to those areas/activities that are likely to produce dust (be aware of Water Corporation  water restrictions)
  • Stabilise stockpiles and finished ground
  • Erect a temporary screen (minimum two metres in height with a porosity of around 50 per cent) in the direction of prevailing winds
  • Ensure trucks leaving the site are covered and that any spillage onto the ground surface and roads is promptly cleaned up.
See Forms and Information Sheets below to download the Prevention and abatement of dust and liquid waste Local Law
 

Smoke

Excessive smoke from wood-heaters may result in respiratory problems.
 
The following can help minimise smoke and reduce the maintenance and running costs of your wood-heater:
  • Burn dry, seasoned, untreated firewood 
  • Stack wood under cover in a dry, ventilated area 
  • Use small logs 
  • Burn the fire brightly, even if burning overnight
For further information, please contact the City of Stirling on (08) 9205 8555.
 

Forms and Information Sheets

  
  
  
  
Prevention of Dust and Liquid Waste Local Law.pdfPrevention of Dust and Liquid Waste Local Law30 KB 14/02/2012 9:05
Noise from Specified Equipment - Information Sheet.pdfNoise from Specified Equipment - Information Sheet96 KB 19/06/2013 16:31
Noise laws and your audible alarm.pdfNoise laws and your audible alarm269 KB 11/03/2014 16:59
Guide to Air Conditioner Installation.pdfGuide to Air Conditioner Installation697 KB 11/03/2014 17:10
Food Business Guide - Design Construction Operation Revised March 2017.pdfFood Business Guide - Design Construction Operation Revised March 2017289 KB 28/03/2017 16:05
Food Premises Notification-Registration Form May 2016.pdfFood Premises Notification-Registration Form May 2016288 KB 29/03/2017 14:19
Noise Investigation Request Package.pdfNoise Investigation Request Package2054 KB 11/07/2017 16:01
Neighbourhood Noise Information Sheet.pdfNeighbourhood Noise Information Sheet1297 KB 11/07/2017 16:01