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  • 21 Neighbourhood Disputes
  • Environmental Issues
  • Smoke, Smells, Noise and Pollution
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Smoke, Smells, Noise and Pollution

Smoke and Smells

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) lists a number of smoke, smell and air pollution that elicit complaints. These include: odours from abattoirs and food processing plants, forestry burns, waste and wastewater disposal, management and treatment sites or plants, industrial premises, and domestic pollution such as motor vehicles, tyre burning, backyard burning and wood heaters.

Your local council is the first relevant regulator for any residential smoke and odour issues. For residential issues like backyard burning, wood heater issues, etc., call or contact your local Council. There is useful information available on smoky wood heaters, including useful information on how to improve your own wood heater performance and links to Local Council contact details.

The EPA only regulates level 2 premises, which include commercial and industrial activities not residential activities. If you wish to make a report about commercial or industrial activities, you can contact the EPA to make a report.


Under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (Tas) the responsibility for pollution falls with the person from who the pollution has been emitted. This means that where a stream or river forms the boundary of two properties or where the watercourse is shared, the occupant who discharges pollutants into the waterway will be liable for damage caused. There may also be an offence committed under the Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas) (s19) in which case the police should be notified.

If the pollution is likely to harm fish, it may be an offence under the Inland Fisheries Act 1995 (Tas) and the Inland Fisheries Commission should be notified.

Information on making a report can be found at the Environmental Protection Agency website.


Noise that comes from neighbouring or nearby land has annoyed people since we started living in social groups. To the traditional noises of crying babies, barking dogs and raised voices, we have added such modern forms of noise as motor mowers, power tools, televisions, stereos, unattended burglar alarms, and parties. The apparent lack of consideration that some people have for their neighbours has become a significant source of annoyance in today’s communities.

There are some basic time guides from the Environmental Protection Agency website on what noises are permitted, and when:

​Typ​​e​ ​Per​missible Hours of Use
​Lawnmowers and other power gar​den maintenance equipment ​Monday to Friday: 7 am to 8 pm
Saturday: 9 am to 8 pm
Sunday and Public Holidays: 10 am to 8 pm
(Note: may be used for domestic garden maintenance on only one day in any 7 consecutive days)
​Monday to Friday: 7 am to 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am to 6 pm
Sunday and Public Holidays: 10 am to 6 pm
​Musical instruments and sound-amplifying equipment ​Monday to Thursday: 7 am to 10 pm
Friday: 7 am to ​midnight
Saturday: 9 am to midnight
Sunday and Public Holidays: 10 am to 10 pm
​Motor vehicles, motor vessels & outboard motors
(unless moving in and out of premises)
​Monday to Friday: 7 am to 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am to 6 pm
Sunday and Public Holidays: 10 am to 6 pm
​Portable apparatus
(e.g. power and percussion tools, compressors, pumps, generators and cement mixers)
​Monday to Friday 7 am to 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am to 6 pm
Sunday and Public Holidays: 10 am to 6 pm
​Mobile machinery, forklift trucks and industrial motor vehicles
(e.g. tractors, graders, rollers & cranes)
​​Monday to Friday: 7 am to 6 pm
Saturday: 8 am to 6 pm
Sunday and Public Holidays: 10 am to 6 pm

An occupier who wishes to stop a neighbouring or nearby noise can do one or more of the following, depending on various circumstances which include the type of noise, the time of day, and the nature of the premises on which the noise occurs. Remember: the first step should always be a direct and polite conversation with your neighbour! People are just people like you – a friendly solution is always the best solution.

  1. Talk to the neighbour directly. State the objection and request that the noise be stopped, or reduced, or restricted to certain hours of the day.
    If this doesn’t work:
  2. Complain to the police. The noise may amount to a public annoyance if it is in a public place, but not a domestic residence, in which case the police can be notified (s13Police Offences Act 1935);
  3. Complain to the local council. If any noise-related conditions were imposed on a building development, the local council has responsibility for seeing that these conditions are observed.
  4. Complain to your local council.
    If the situation escalates beyond these measures, it may be possible to:
  5. Take the matter before the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal, or to the Magistrates Court or the Supreme Court. Legal advice will be necessary.

Page last updated 20/06/2022