Burdekin Shire Council Environmental Health staff are delegated the responsibility for enforcing the Environmental Protection Act 1994. This legislation deals with a number of environmental nuisances, including noise, dust, smoke, ash, aerosols, fumes, particles, light, odour, and other factors that can affect our quality of life.
Nuisances which are council’s responsibility
Council is the authority responsible for investigating nuisances that arise from residential premises and commercial activities.
If you have a nuisance issue with a surrounding neighbour, we recommend that in the first instance you should discuss all possible options for resolving the problem with your neighbour. When disagreements between neighbours arise, talking together and working towards a mutual solution is the best approach.
Nuisances which are not council’s responsibility
Some nuisances are regulated by other government agencies, these include:
- Noise, light, dust and odour nuisances from commercial or industrial activities which have an environmental license with the Department of Environment and Science (DES), phone 1300 130 372.
- Noise from music, parties, and vehicles are regulated by the Queensland Police Service.
- Noise from licensed premises, i.e. nightclubs are regulated by Liquor Licensing Division, phone 13 13 04.
Noise is an inescapable part of modern human life and rare moments of solitude are usually disturbed by noise of some sort. There are legal limits on the amount and type of noise made in our community, as well as restrictions on the times noise can be made. These laws try to provide a balance between the protection of our quality of life, and the reasonable pursuit of activities that have the potential to annoy others.
Council’s Environmental Health Services regulates excessive noise including:
- Air-conditioning units
- Amplifiers (e.g. loudhailers)
- Power boat engines (on land)
- Pumps including pool and spa pumps
- Regulated devices including motor mowers, leaf blowers, power tools etc.
- Building works
- Refrigeration activities
The Environmental Protection laws also cover other unreasonable releases of various emissions which include dust, smoke, fumes, and odour. Examples include:
- Smoke or ash from burning off wastes
- Smoke, ash or fire hazard from backyard burning
- Aerosols from paint cans and other fine mists
- Fumes from petrol or diesel
- Dust from construction works, and
- Odour from composting or accumulated rubbish.
The following criteria are used when investigating these nuisance complaints:
- Time of release
- How long the release lasts
- The environmental values of the area
- The impact on the environment, and
- The views of the complainants.
Smoke, odour or fumes emitted from residential cooking are exempt from the nuisance legislation.
Dust from demolition and construction work, if badly managed, can cause environmental nuisance and impact those living adjacent or near the work site. The Management of Dust from Development Sites document offers guidance for developing a dust emission control plan.