Noise Control

Council is responsible for maintaining a service to control excessive or unreasonable noise. Most people would simply be concerned with whether or not noise amounted to a nuisance which interfered with their comfort or quiet enjoyment of their own home. Noise, simply put, is unwanted sound and it can be a real problem if it interferes with normal living. If someone is unable to concentrate or if their sleep is disturbed through noise it can be a significant stress factor and it can lead to anxiety, inability to sleep as well as aggressive behaviour towards the perceived source of the noise.

What can we do?

We are able to issue short term notices known as Excessive Noise Directions on the persons responsible for noise requiring that the problem be resolved. This is usually a simple matter of turning the volume dial on a stereo but there are other issues such as industrial or road traffic noise that are not so straight forward to solve.

We are also able to issue an Abatement Notices where a problem is considered to be unreasonable. Such problems are usually more serious and over a longer time period.

There are significant differences between the two remedies. Excessive Noise Directions only last for 72 hours, after which time they cease to apply. Abatement Notices, on the other hand, last indefinitely until either we are willing to remove them or until an appeal is lodged and is decided upon by the Courts.

Seizure of Equipment

Where these notice procedures are ignored, we have the right to enter property and either prevent the noise or to remove the equipment. In practice stereo equipment is the most common source of complaint and once seized the equipment is only returned as and when we are satisfied that there will be no repetition of the problem and that all its costs have been reimbursed. This can be very expensive for the owner of the equipment and on occasion it may be friends or relatives of the owner who have misused it. Costs will vary according to distance. Equipment seized from somewhere as distant as Tapanui [for example] is likely to involve costs in the order of $400. 

We supply diary forms to people suffering from noise problems and a copy of this can be downloaded and a diary kept if you have a noisy neighbour.

Out of Hours Service

We fund an out of hours service that is available 365 days of the year to respond to noise complaints outside of office hours. Please phone 0800 801 350. This service will respond to complaints concerning noisy parties and nuisance from noisy neighbours. If you need to use this service please note that they will not normally contact you unless they need to do so. If you would like them to contact you direct to provide you with feedback, please ask the operator to pass the message on.

During normal office hours please contact our Regulatory Department for advice on 03 419 0200.

Noise Control and You - the law imposes a duty on the occupiers of premises to ensure that the emission of noise does not exceed a reasonable level. The Act does not define "reasonable"  or "reasonable level", so in the first instance this is for the Enforcement Officer to decide, using any of a number of factors explained in this brochure.

Page reviewed: 25 Jan 2017 9:28am