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Community to benefit from changes to noise regulations

01 March 2010

Changes to regulations will give Tasmanians greater protection from noise from chainsaws, garden maintenance equipment, amplified music, vehicle engine testing, and car and intruder alarms.

Chainsaw use in residential areas for occasional garden maintenance, such as trimming dead branches from trees or large shrubs, will no longer require a permit or the consent of neighbours. However, these activities are now restricted to one day in seven consecutive days.

Permits still apply in urban areas for more substantial chainsawing activities, such as cutting up firewood logs.

Noise from vehicle and boat engine testing, musical instruments and amplified music, and garden maintenance equipment which can be heard in neighbouring residences will be subject to time limits.

The permissible starting time on Saturdays for lawnmowers and other garden maintenance equipment has been changed from 8am to 9am. Restricted hours for Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day have also been extended to include all public holidays.

Sound level limits for some activities in residential premises, including vehicle maintenance and music production, have been replaced with provisions enabling authorised officers to make a subjective assessment of whether noise can be heard in a neighbouring residence.

For example, if a council or police officer believes that noise from a stereo or from a vehicle being revved in a driveway late at night can be heard in another residence, action can be taken without having to use complex technical equipment to measure sound levels.

Nuisance noise from car and building intruder alarms have also been addressed in the new regulations with time limits introduced in line with national manufacturing standards.

For pre-September 1997vehicles, the period of continuous operation of an alarm must not exceed 90 seconds, while for newer vehicles the maximum period is 45 seconds. For building intruder alarms, the period of continuous operation must not exceed five minutes. A period of continuous operation will start from the first time the alarm sounds on any given day to the last time it sounds on that day.

For a full summary of the new regulations, including the revised hours of use and the penalties for non-compliance, go to www.environment.tas.gov.au/noise