Loud music, barking dogs, power tools - depending on the time of day, these can all be considered noise pollution. The Northern Beaches Council and police share responsibility for regulating noise pollution, and there are guidelines you can follow to do the right thing.

NSW Vibrancy Reforms

The NSW Government has implemented new Vibrancy Reforms with an aim to boost NSW’s night economy. Regulation around noise, planning and liquor licensing has been streamlined, updated and simplified through the NSW Government’s 24-Hour Economy Legislation (Vibrancy Reforms) Amendment Act 2023.


Amendments to relevant pieces of legislation will result in entertainment sound emanating from licensed premises being solely managed through the Liquor Act 2007. This means that noise-related conditions of development consent and ‘offensive noise pollution’ laws will no longer apply when such matters are regulated by the Liquor Act 2007.

Since 1 July 2024, Council is no longer the appropriate regulatory authority (ARA) for entertainment sound-related complaints for all licensed premises. The Vibrancy Reforms will designate Liquor & Gaming NSW as the newly designated ARA. This means that Council no longer has legislative powers or authority to take action in relation to these matters.

Noise complaints from entertainment and sound emanating from licensed premises will need to made directly to the Office of Liquor and Gaming using the Report a Breach Form or by contacting their office on 1300 024 720. Council will not be able to accept or refer complaints. 

Visit the NSW government website for further information on the Vibrancy Reforms. 

Times when noise is prohibited

It’s only fair that your neighbours should be able to enjoy their own property. Equally, it’s also fair that they don’t stop you from enjoying yours. You can easily check all residential time restrictions (Opens in a new window)on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website. Be mindful of when noise from residential premises should not be heard inside a neighbour's residence.

When noise is not allowed

During these times, noise should not be heard in a habitable room in a neighbour's residence:

Power tools and equipment

  • 8pm–8am Sun and public holidays
  • 8pm–7am Mon–Sat

Air conditioners and pumps

  • 10pm–8am Sat, Sun and public holidays
  • 10pm–7am Mon–Fri

Musical instruments, TV, hi-fi, etc

  • 12am– 8am Fri, Sat or any day before a public holiday
  • 10pm–8am any other day

What to do when it’s too loud

Try talking to your neighbour or the person causing the noise first. They may not realise their noise is a problem and be happy to oblige. It’s always better to solve the problem yourself by being solution focussed. If possible, make contacting the Council or local police a last resort. 

Where to get help

It can be hard to approach people with issues relating to noise. You’ll find a lot of valuable information on dealing with neighbourhood noise on NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website. There is information to help you regarding barking dogs, intruder alarms as well as noise from vehicles.

Consider Community Justice Centres (CJC)

If talking to your neighbour isn’t an option, or doesn’t work and noise continues, try contacting a Community Justice Centre (CJC) for free mediation. It’s a government funded but independent body that specialises in settling differences between individuals without starting legal processes. They can help you and your neighbour find a peaceful resolution.

How to report noise pollution 

If all else fails, please report your noise pollution issue. Please include the time, date and duration of the noise, the type and sound of the noise, the likely noise source and your contact details. If you need to place an urgent complaint, contact your local police station.

The Noise App

To make a report to Council about residential noise, you will need to first log a customer request as explained above. Following logging your customer request and receiving your reference number, we recommend that you download and use “The Noise App”. When completing your Noise App entry you will be required to quote your customer reference number. Council will only action noise app recordings once the customer reference number is entered into The Noise App. 

The Noise App is a free app that is available for Apple and Android mobile devices.

It records samples of noise as well as the date and time that it is occurring. It also allows you to tell us how the noise affects you, how loud the noise is, where the noise comes from, how long and often it can be heard. You can take multiple recordings for each time the noise occurs which helps show that the issue is ongoing.

The information and the noise recordings submitted via this app is used to assist us in investigating the matter.

The Noise App allows an accurate record of noise nuisance, with the exception of Barking Dogs, a description of the noise source and how it affects you. When completed a report will immediately be sent to Council’s officers for review to determine what action is required.

Before using the noise app or lodging a complaint with Council, you are advised to review the below definition of offensive noise under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. 

Offensive noise means noise:

  • (a) that, by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances:
    • (i) is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or
    • (ii) interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with) the comfort or repose of a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or
  • (b) that is of a level, nature, character or quality prescribed by the regulations or that is made at a time, or in other circumstances, prescribed by the regulations.

Council has power to regulate noise from a fixed source on residential or commercial property when it is deemed offensive but will not regulate the following noise sources;

  • After hours behavioural noise such as people talking loudly, parties or amplified music.
  • Noise from an EPA licenced premise or premise with a liquor licence.
  • Noise in an area and not from a specific location.

In addition, please consider the following questions as a guide when submitting a noise report and/or lodging an enquiry with Council:

  • Is the noise loud in an absolute sense? Is it loud relative to other noise in the area?
  • Does the noise include characteristics that make it particularly irritating?
  • Does the noise occur at times when people expect to enjoy peace and quiet?
  • Is the noise atypical for the area?
  • Does the noise occur often?
  • Are a number of people affected by the noise?

If the majority of the answers to the above questions are yes, then you are encouraged to use the Noise App and raise an enquiry with Council Environmental Health team for further investigation and where applicable appropriate enforcement action.