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Noise Regulations in Tasmania

The EMPC (Miscellaneous Noise) Regulations 2004 are due to expire on 20 July 2014, through application of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1992. New regulations, the EMPC (Miscellaneous Noise) Regulations 2014 will apply from 21 July 2014.

The aim of the new Regulations remains unchanged from the 2004 Regulations in regard to improving the environmental management of ‘neighbourhood’ noise sources such as lawn mowers, heat pumps, chainsaws and off-road vehicles. They retain the noise limits on equipment and vehicles, restrictions on hours of use and restrictions on the location of operation for some items. The new Regulations have a two year life over which time a more comprehensive review of these Regulations will be carried out.

Some minor changes have been made which include the following:

• Regulation 28 of the 2004 Regulations has been removed from the 2014 Regulations. This regulation stated that the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Infringement Notices) Regulations 1996 applied to these regulations. The Office of Parliamentary Council (OPC) advised that this provision has no effect as it is the reference to the noise regulations in the infringement notice regulations that make those regulations apply.

• Regulation 29 of the 2004 Regulations is a transitional provision that carries over permits from the previous set of regulations. Therefore this regulation had to be changed so that any permits issued under the 2004 Regulations are still active under the 2014 Regulations.

• Regulation 30 "Expiry of Regulations" has been included to establish the date on which the 2014 regulations will expire. The 2014 regulations will expire in two years’ time during which time a thorough review will be carried out to assess the best way to manage and regulate current and emerging residential noise pollution and to align with the new policies of the State Government.

• Regulations have been renumbered where required.

The Government released a "Trail Bike Initiative" policy document on 24 February 2014 as part of its election policies. This initiative states that "A majority Hodgman Liberal Government will ask the Tasmanian Law Reform Commission to review existing enforcement powers and penalties in respect of the licensing and registration of trail bikes, noise issues and illegal off-track riding." Noise from trail bike riding in off-street areas is an issue that has been brought up by Tasmania Police, local government and the general public on a regular basis.

Over the next two years the EPA Division will continue the review process started in September 2013. A review of other jurisdictions and consultation with stakeholders has revealed an opportunity to make changes to address some of the recurring issues that have arisen with implementation of the 2004 regulations. The review process will consider all these issues, and make recommendations for appropriate amendments to the Regulations. The requirements for making regulations mean that the draft regulations and a regulatory impact statement will be released for stakeholder and public consultation before any changes are made.

In the meantime, the 2014 Regulations – which are in essence just a re-making of the 2004 Regulations – will continue to provide Police, Council and EPA Division officers with a regulatory tool to help deal with noise issues, while the work of implementing the Government’s policy agenda proceeds.

For further information, contact the Environmental Policy and Support Services Section, EPA Division, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Ph 61654599, Email: EnvironmentEnquiries@environment.tas.gov.au).