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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
Noise control.

What we do about noise

This page lets you know what can be done about excessive and unreasonable noise, and infringements.

Planning a party

  • Inform your neighbours in advance, let them know when the party will finish and ask them to phone you if the noise is too loud.
  • Consider the time of your event as neighbours will be more tolerant during reasonable hours.
  • Keep windows and doors closed to contain the noise.
  • Reduce the bass level of the music.
  • Keep your guests inside.

Band practice

For regular band practice, choose a place where the noise won’t disturb others, such as an industrial area.

Excessive noise

Excessive noise means any noise under human control that unreasonably interferes with someone’s peace, comfort, and convenience. Loud parties, stereo noise and noise from licensed premises are the most common source of complaints.

Assessment of noise is subjective and we do not have to take noise measurements. If the noise is excessive, we will serve an Excessive Noise Direction notice (END) requiring the noise to be reduced to a reasonable level. This END remains enforced for 72 hours.

If we get more complaints within the 72 hours and the noise is still excessive, we, with Police assistance, may enter the premises and seize or impound equipment. You will be liable for a $500 Infringement for contravening the END as well as paying for all costs incurred for seizing, transport and storage of the equipment. If the excessive noise continues or is repeated, we can serve an abatement notice.

The abatement notice:

  • has no time limit
  • remains in force
  • prohibits and prevent the recurrence of unreasonable noise
  • may specify reasonable or practicable measures and a timeframe for compliance

Unreasonable noise

Some types of noisy activities in our community can’t be stopped or reduced immediately. This is generally industrial or commercial noise, or noise from heat pumps (see the heat pump pamphlet in the related information section below).

The occupier of land must adopt all best practical options to ensure that any emission of noise from that land is reasonable. A full noise assessment and measurements may be required to determine if the noise level breaches any New Zealand noise standards, district plan laws, or is deemed unreasonable.

When determining if a noise is unreasonable, we will consider many factors, including its:

  • Frequency (how often)
  • Volume
  • Duration
  • Offensiveness
  • Location

We will also consider and discuss practical solutions, available technology, reasonable cost and New Zealand case law.

When there is substantive evidence that the noise is unreasonable, we may serve an abatement notice requiring the noise to be reduced by a number of practicable measures within a set period of time.

Infringement Notices

Failure to comply with a Resource Management Act 1991 S.327 Excessive noise Direction is an offence against S.338(2)(c) of this act. The Resource Management (Infringement Offences) Regulations 1999 imposes a $500 infringement for all contraventions of an ‘Excessive Noise direction’. Failure to comply with a S.322(1)(c) Resource Management Act 1991 Abatement Notice for contravening s.16 ‘Duty to avoid unreasonable noise’ is an offence against s.338(2)(d) of this act. The Resource Management (Infringement Offences) Regulations 1999 imposes a $750 infringement for all contraventions of an Abatement notice.

Paying health infringements

Environmental Health infringement notices must be paid in full (no part payments can be accepted) within 28 days of issue of the infringement.

Where you can pay your infringement notice

You can pay environmental health infringement notices at our customer service agencies, post offices and some bookshops or pay online.

If your notice is not paid within the 28 days we will send you a reminder. If you still do not pay within the time stated on the reminder, it will be handed over to the Fines and Collections Unit of the Department for Courts. Once your notice is lodged with the Court, your notice will also incur court costs and it will have to be paid through the Court's system.

Contesting your Notice

If you have received an environmental health infringement notice and would like to explain the circumstances, fill out an Explanation form providing as much detail as you can. We will assess your explanation and determine whether your ticket can be waived.

An explanation form can be downloaded from the the related information section below.

Reclaiming seized equipment

To reclaim your seized or impounded equipment:

  • You (the owner) must apply to us
  • We must be satisfied that its return will not lead to a recurrence of the noise
  • You must pay all costs we have incurred for seizing, transport and storage of the equipment

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