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Noise Control

Making a Noise Complaint

Call us when the noise is happening so we can take action – day or night. You can call us anytime on the following numbers:

06 370 6300 (office hours) or (06) 370 3088 (noise control out of office service)

Things you should know before you call:

  • Your name won’t be given out.
  • Some levels of construction noise are allowed during the day.
  • Noise rules don’t apply to unplanned emergency works, like water mains breaks.
  • We do not monitor noise from moving vehicles (aircraft, boats, trains and cars).
  • We can investigate noise from parked cars on private property (alarms, car stereos and engine revving).

When you make a noise complaint, we send a noise control officer to visit the site, investigate and determine if noise is excessive. 

Check out our Noise Control Pamphlet (PDF, 2MB)

A quiet word about noise – Everyone should expect some degree of noise in their neighbourhood from time to time. Noise control isn’t meant to regulate everyday things like mowing lawns and vehicles driving on the road. Sometimes a friendly word over the fence is all that is required if you’re having a problem with a neighbour. We encourage you to talk to the person or company responsible and let them know about the problem. They might not know they’re disturbing you.

What happens when I make a noise complaint?

When you make a noise complaint, we will go out to investigate. This is why you need to make a complaint when the noise is happening and not later once the noise has stopped.

To decide if the noise is excessive, we will consider:

  • Volume
  • The time of day
  • Frequency
  • Tone/type of noise.

We don’t use any monitoring equipment to decide if noise is excessive. If we decide that the noise is too loud, we can issue an Excessive Noise Direction (END). An END notice lasts for 72 hours. If there are more noise complaints during that time, the officer will visit the place again to see if the noise is still excessive. If it’s excessive a second time within 72 hours, the enforcement officer and police will seize the equipment that is making the noise.

How do I know if noise is excessive?

Excessive noise is any noise that is under human control and unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and convenience of someone. This is defined under Section 326 of the Resource Management Act.

This could be things like:

  • a loud party
  • stereo
  • band practices
  • loud alarm or machinery

There are no set times of the day or decibel levels for excessive noise. 

What about construction noise?

The hours when noisy construction work is allowed depends on the location and days of the week. Construction sites often have a resource consent or building consent that allows for different noise levels or working hours. You can call us for more information. 

Ongoing Problems with Noise

For reoccurring noise problems, call 06 370 6300 during working hours and ask to speak to an Environmental Health Officer. We can send infringement notices for repeat offenders. These notices mean the offenders have to pay a fine for:

  • Not complying with an excessive noise direction notice.
  • Not complying with an abatement notice for noise.

We can issue an abatement notice where there are ongoing issues with noise. This is an official letter that means the offender has to reduce noise to a reasonable level. We use a sound level meter to take noise readings that can be measured against the permitted levels in the Wairarapa Combined District Plan, before issuing an abatement notice. 

Noise Complaints Against You

If a complaint is made against you and you think it’s unjustified, you can call us to talk about it.

Getting seized equipment back

We only return equipment if we’re sure it won’t be used to make further noise problems.  If we refuse to return your property, you can appeal to the Environment Court.

To request your property back, you need to:

  • Contact us to arrange an interview
  • Pay all costs relating to the seizure (i.e. call outs, storage, administration and delivery)

Bring to your interview:

  • Proof of identity, like a driver’s licence or passport
  • The original copy of the seizure notice (so we return it to the rightful owner)
  • Pay all costs relating to the seizure (i.e. call outs, storage, administration and delivery)

To find out where to collect your goods, contact us on 06 370 6300.

How to Prevent a Noise Complaint

You can’t get a noise permit for parties or playing your stereo on full volume. There are some things you can do to reduce noise and be considerate of your neighbours:

    1. Keep noise levels down at night.
    2. Tell your neighbours if you’re planning a party or invite them.
    3. Keep your music equipment inside and close doors and windows if you can.
    4. If you think that noise might be a problem, keep party guests indoors and ask them to keep the noise down when entering and leaving.
    5. Tell neighbours about planned work on your section that might be noisy.
    6. Make sure burglar alarms cut off after 15 minutes and have to be manually reset.
    7. Make sure car alarms are installed correctly and aren’t oversensitive or faulty.
    8. Don’t start up noisy equipment like chainsaws early in the morning or late at night.
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