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Noise Control

Noise complaints and how to make one

Noise, simply stated, is any unwanted sound. We respond to complaints about noise in the community when the noise interferes with your peace, comfort and convenience.

The noise control provisions under the Resource Management Act 1991 and District Plan are designed to:

  • Protect the public from excessive or unreasonable noise
  • Protect the rights of people and industry
  • Set out obligations for all of us to keep noise to a reasonable level

Noise complaints can be made at any time by calling us on 03 687 7200.

What is Excessive Noise?

The Resource Management Act states that excessive noise means any “man-made” noise which unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person.  Examples of excessive noise may include (but are not limited to) a loud party, stereo music, band practice or machinery.  Noise from moving vehicles such as cars, aircraft, boats and trains is not under the Council’s control.

A Quiet Word About Noise

Everyone should expect some degree of noise in their neighbourhood from time to time. Noise control is not intended to regulate everyday residential activities such as mowing lawns and vehicles driving on the road.  But if you are concerned about the noise coming from your neighbour’s place, often a friendly word over the fence is all that is required.  Talk to the person or company responsible for the noise and point out the problem.  You may find they are unaware that they are disturbing you.

Noise Control Procedure

We do not use noise monitoring machines to measure noise from parties etc. Our Noise Control Officers (NCO’s) will assess the noise from the roadside.

How do I Complain?

When informal action is not possible or fails, you can resolve the problem by taking formal action.  An external security company works under contract to the Council.  You can lodge a noise complaint any time of the day by ringing (03) 687 7200.  Make sure you report noise issues whilst they are happening, so that immediate action can be taken.  Your complaint will then be followed up by a Noise Control Officer.  All complaints are treated confidentially.

What Can Council Do?

There is no set level of decibel reading to measure whether noise is excessive or not.  Deciding whether noise is excessive is up to the judgement of the Noise Control Officer.  If the noise is assessed as reasonable, no further action will be taken.  If the noise is deemed to be excessive the Noise Control Officer may issued a verbal warning.  If this is not an option then an Excessive Noise Direction (END Notice) will be served on the occupants of the property requiring them to immediately reduce or cease the noise.  The END Notice remains in force for 72 hours.

If the END Notice is ignored, equipment can be seized and the owner could receive a Permanent Abatement Notice on the property which means no excessive noise can be generated from this property permanently.  If there are breaches of the Permanent Abatement Notice a $750 Infringement Notice would be issued for each confirmed breach.

What happens if my equipment is seized?

All confiscated equipment comes to the Council for safekeeping. To ensure the equipment is returned to the correct owner, you will need to bring photographic proof of identity and the original copy of the seizure notice.  You will need to pay the impoundment fee ($100) which covers the cost of the seizure and storage.  If the Council receives further complaints after returning the equipment to you, it is unlikely it will be returned if seized a second time.

Commercial / Industrial Noise

This is covered by the Planning Unit of the Timaru District Council. If it is a commercial/industrial premise you are calling about please ensure this is noted in the complaint so it can be referred to the relevant department

Publish Date: 28 Mar 2014