Noise can be a problem, particularly in urban areas. There are regulations that control various activities which may cause noise nuisances.

Noise which is emitted from residential premises and unreasonably interferes with a person's enjoyment of the environment can result in penalties being imposed.

Noise should not create a nuisance for other people. It should not unreasonably interfere with a person’s enjoyment of their environment with regard to its volume, intensity or duration. You should also consider the time of day and your location. If the noise can be heard in a habitable room of other residential premises, it may be considered to be unreasonable.

If you are going to create noise, you should make sure that you do not breach the requirements of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Noise) Regulations 2016 and the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).


Noise from Building/Construction Sites

A Council permit may be required to carry out building work.  Noise control may be a condition of the permit to protect the general amenity of the area.  However noise from mobile machinery and portable equipment such as power tools is prohibited during the times listed over the page.  Excessive use of power tools would need to be assessed for ‘reasonableness’ by an authorised officer.


Noise from Fixed Equipment (Heat Pumps/Air-Conditioners, Hot water systems, evaporative coolers, pumps, generators, wind turbines etc.)

Noise levels from fixed equipment are controlled under the Regulations. To determine whether noise levels comply with the Regulations, sound level measurements would have to be carried out.  The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Heating Inc has developed an Air Conditioning Residential Best Practice Guideline (Tasmania) for the installation of heat pumps in residential premises.  The installation principles in this guideline may also be useful when installing fixed equipment other than air conditioners/heat pumps to help prevent future noise problems from occurring.


Guidelines for installing to prevent noise nuisance

Much of this equipment is designed and built to Australian Standards in order to minimise inherently noisy designs entering the market.  The sound output of each unit will usually be indicated on a descriptive plate as a Sound Pressure Level, for example 45dB(A).

Before installing any fixed equipment the effects of noise from it on your property, as well as neighbouring properties, should be considered.  Noise problems usually occur when the effects of noise emission from the outdoor parts of fixed equipment are not carefully considered when selecting its location, such as facing it directly at a neighbour’s window.

Site Selection

The following should be carefully considered when selecting the location for the outdoor unit:

  1. Noise travels in straight lines and can be reflected by walls, brick fences and other hard surfaces.
  2. Consider the surrounding environment’s background noise levels and chose a unit to suit.  The lower the dB(A) level the better.
  3. Locate the unit as far away from your bedrooms and the neighbour’s bedrooms as possible.
  4. Never face the condenser fan discharge or any vent directly towards the window of a neighbour’s residence, particularly those of habitable rooms or outdoor living areas.  The unit should face the boundary fence of the property furthest away from the adjoining residences.
  5. Try to avoid mounting the outdoor parts of fixed equipment on the house wall and in particular above ground level, as this can result in unimpeded transmission of noise to neighbouring properties.  The outdoor parts of fixed equipment should be mounted at ground level if possible.  The unit should be mounted on a solid base, preferably a concrete pad or blocks.  To help minimise vibration the unit should be mounted on rubber pads or other suitable material.
  6. Where pipes or lines pass through walls there must be adequate clearance and insulation, this will help prevent vibration within walls, as this has the potential to magnify noise.
  7. Fences and walls between your property and the neighbours may help to reduce noise transmission.  These may be used to advantage when locating the outdoor unit.  It is important to remember that while a brick fence may prevent noise travelling to the neighbour on the other side it will also reflect the noise.



Fixed equipment installation contractors are in the best position to prevent problems before they occur so it is important that an experienced contractor installs any fixed equipment.

The noise from the installation of fixed equipment must not infringe on your neighbour’s right to enjoy their environment.  You may be required to move the unit if a noise nuisance is created.  Talk to your neighbours before you have fixed equipment installed, to help ensure that there will not be any impact on their living areas.

Do not install a unit where it is evident a potential noise nuisance may be created that will impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.  You may need to seek an alternative solution.

After installation it is important that fixed equipment is routinely serviced to ensure that noise nuisance from rattles, vibrations and worn parts is not created over time.


Noise from Loud Music (Musical instruments and sound amplifying equipment)
Loud music noise enquiries and complaints after normal Council office hours should be directed to the police.  For noise that is emitted during the day, or is an on-going problem, Council’s Environmental Health Officers may be able to assist. Remember to consider your neighbours.


Prohibited hours from noise from musical instruments and sound amplifying equipment
Monday to Thursday: Before 7.00am and after 10.00pm
Friday: Before 7.00am and after midnight
Saturday: Before 9.00am and after midnight
Sunday and all Statutory Public Holidays  Before 10.00am and after 10.00pm
The use of any equipment must be lawful so that an Environmental Nuisance, as defined by EMPCA, is not caused.


Note: Even though there are hours in which musical instruments and sound amplifying equipment are not prohibited this does not mean that these can be used to such an extent that an environmental nuisance is caused.  In assessing whether the use of these items is an environmental nuisance an authorised officer will take into account the duration (how long the noise has been going for) and intensity (loudness) and frequency (how often it is being used).  If this activity is determined to be excessive, the noise and/or level will be required to be reduced or ceased.

Noise from Animals
If the noise is from a barking dog, you should contact the Council’s City Rangers (phone: 6217 9600).  Noise from other animals (e.g. roosters in residential areas) may be dealt with by Council’s Environmental Health Officers.

Prohibited hours of operation of mobile machinery, forklift truck or portable equipment such as power tools, cement mixers etc.
Monday to Friday: Before 7.00am and after 6.00pm
Saturday: Before 8.00am and after 6.00pm
Sunday and all Statutory Public Holidays  Before 10.00am and after 6.00pm

Prohibited hours of operation for lawn mowers
Monday to Friday: Before 7.00am and after 8.00pm
Saturday: Before 9.00am and after 8.00pm
Sunday and all Statutory Public Holidays  Before 10.00am and after 8.00pm 

Chainsaw Use

The inappropriate use of chainsaws has the potential to cause an environmental nuisance so, the government has put in place regulations to ensure that they are used appropriately to control or reduce noise nuisance.  If you intend using a chainsaw you are required to do so within these legal requirements.

Under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (the Act) and its Regulations, the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Noise) Regulations 2016 the following applies to the operation of chainsaws with an internal combustion engine i.e. petrol driven chainsaws.

A person on residential premises must not operate a chainsaw powered by an internal combustion engine within 300 metres of other residential premises unless: 

  • The chainsaw is operated for the purpose of domestic garden maintenance on only one day in any 7 consecutive days and at a time outside the following prohibited hours of use:

Monday to Friday:  Before 7am and after 6pm

Saturday: Before 9am and after 6pm

Sunday and all Statutory Public Holidays: Before 10 am and after 6 pm;


  • The operation of the chainsaw is approved under an approved instrument; and the noise emitted by the chainsaw is not otherwise unlawful.

(See Regulation 3 of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Noise) Regulations 2016 for the definition of “approved instrument”).

The complete Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 and Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Noise) Regulations 2016 may be viewed on the internet at

Recreational vehicles

Recreational vehicles (e.g. trail bikes, quad bikes etc.) must not be operated within 500m of domestic premises. When riding be mindful of others, to ensure you don’t interfere with their safety and enjoyment of the environment. Reserves are areas commonly used by walkers and horse riders.  Recreational vehicles can scare horses causing injury, and walkers can sometimes be hard to see.  Therefore not only is it illegal to ride a vehicle in a reserve, it is also not suitable for safety reasons and will cause erosion and damage to native flora. 

For further information on places where you can legally ride your trail bike in Tasmania.  Please contact:

Forestry Tasmania:  03 6233 8203

Tasmanian Recreational Vehicle Association: 03 6244 5290

Dual Sport Motocycle Riders Association: 03 6273 0293

For after hours please contact Tasmania Police: 13 1444.

It is up to you to find out who manages the land you are riding on and make sure you are riding legally.



For further information please contact Council’s Environmental Health Services on 6217 9570.