Noise issues

Neighbourhood noise from barking dogs, car alarms, machines, construction work and parties can be frustrating. Thankfully, there are often ways to deal with it without involving us or other government agencies. 

Talk to your neighbours about any noise issues that are affecting you. Your neighbours may not know and may help solve the problem quickly and easily. 

If talking to your neighbours doesn't solve the issue, you can go the Community Justice Centre. Community Justice Centres provide quality mediation and conflict management services in NSW. The service is free, confidential, impartial, accessible and voluntary.

You can call the Northern Community Justice Centre on 1800 990 777 or email

How we can help 

If these avenues fail to achieve a positive result, you can gain further advice from us.

Depending on the case, noise complaints may result in one or all of the following steps:

  • An investigation of the noise complaint to determine the legitimacy of the complaint.
  • The offender/s may be warned about the noise and asked to take action.
  • A formal notice/order may be issued.
  • Action may be enforced (penalty notices or Court action if warranted).

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act), we can serve notices on people occupying homes and businesses which require them to control noise and advise them what noise levels are acceptable.

We can serve notices for noise from animals, air conditioners, swimming pool pumps, radios, sound reproduction equipment, musical instruments, power tools, lawn mowers, burglar alarms and non-EPA licenced commercial or industrial premises. The notice may require noise-making activities to be restricted to certain times of the day or certain days. If the notice is not complied with, Council can prosecute. People who get a notice can appeal against it.

To make a formal noise complaint:

Phone Grafton Police on (02) 6642 0222.

Phone us on (02) 6643 0200 or email

Pubs and clubs

The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing manages noise from licensed premises such as pubs and clubs. When premises are licensed, environmental noise conditions may be included on the licence. These conditions typically include a requirement that the noise from pubs and clubs should not be heard inside any home between midnight and 7am on any night. The Office can be contacted on (02) 9995 0300.

Noise complaints about development and construction

Businesses and commercial operations often require a development approval to operate, and often conditions of consent include limitations on noise and hours of operation to manage impacts on surrounding areas.

Conditions of consent are also included on developments approved to manage hours of construction. Council typically places conditions on construction, with work on new developments to be limited to the hours of 7am-6pm Monday to Friday and 8am-1pm Saturdays. Slightly longer hours of construction may be permitted outside of residential areas.

If you are affected by noise impacts from the operation of a development, or due to construction, call our Duty Planner on (02) 6643 0200 or visit a council office from 8.30am-11am weekdays. 


Complaints about noise are covered in Council’s Enforcement Policy

This policy builds on previous policies providing clear guidelines to our authorised officers to carry out enforcement activities in a transparent, efficient, fair and consistent manner, with regard to all the circumstances.