Noise Control FAQs
How Do I Complain?
When informal action is not possible or fails, you can report the problem to Council.
Call while the noise is happening so an onsite assessment can be made. Complaints are followed up by a Noise Control Officer who makes a subjective assessment (a sound measurement is not used).
What is Excessive Noise?
The Resource Management Act says excessive noise means any “man-made” noise which unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person. Noise from vehicles on the road such as cars, aircraft, boats and trains are not under Council control.
Noise control is not intended to regulate every day residential activities such as mowing lawns and vehicles driving on the road.
If you are concerned about the noise coming from your neighbours place, a friendly word may help, talk to the person or company responsible for the noise and point out the problem. You may find they are unware they are disturbing you.
The level of noise that would be considered acceptable varies according to location of neighbours, time of day, presence of barriers and type of noise that is being made.
I Have Been Served an Excessive - Noise Direction - What Does This Mean?
The noise you are responsible for has been deemed to be excessive. The Direction requires you to reduce the noise to a reasonable level immediately. This direction remains in place for 72 hours.
What Happens if I Don’t Comply with The Direction?
If you do not comply with the direction immediately or you make noise which is considered excessive again within 72 hours, the Enforcement Officer (with the assistance of the Police) can, without further notice, either:
- Seize and remove the item that is producing or contributing to the noise, or
- Remove any part of the item to ensure it can no longer work, or
- Lock or seal the item so that it is no longer usable.
You could also receive an Infringement Notice for $500.00 for failing to comply with the Direction.
Council also has the ability to prosecute for failing to comply with an Excessive Noise Direction. The fine for this offence, on conviction, is up to $10,000 plus $1,000 for every day the offence continues.
What Happens If My Equipment is Seized?
Council will determine whether you should receive your equipment back or not, depending on your history of Excessive Noise Directions.
If Council decides that you should not get your equipment back it can be disposed of.
If you are able to have your equipment back then you will first be required to pay any seizure costs.
What Can Happen If I Keep Receiving Excessive Noise Directions?
If there is a history of Excessive Noise Directions being issued for a property, an Abatement Notice may be issued.
The Abatement Notice would require the occupier of the property to reduce the volume of noise to a reasonable level immediately. The notice remains in place for a defined period unless it is cancelled.
If there is an incidence of excessive noise while an Abatement Notice is in place, an Enforcement Officer (with the assistance of the Police) can immediately seize the noise equipment without the need to first issue an Excessive Noise Direction.
What is an Unreasonable Noise?
We can sometimes take a series of noise readings using a sound level meter to establish whether there is a breach against the district plan noise levels or consent conditions.
Persons have a duty under Section 16(1) of the Resource Management Act to avoid unreasonable noise.
Every occupier of land (including any premises and any coastal marine area), and every person carrying out an activity in, on, or under a water body or the coastal marine area, shall adopt the best practicable option to ensure that the emission of noise from that land or water does not exceed a reasonable level.
Examples of unreasonable noise that may be monitored include:
- a consistently loud bar or nightclub
- a factory or industrial noise
- mechanical noise such as heat pumps and ventilation fans.
If requests to reduce noise to a reasonable level are ignored, we can issue an abatement notice and take action against the offender.