Noise Control

6 December 2010

'Tis the season to be jolly - but we ask you to please spare a thought for your neighbours during your celebrations.

Hundreds of stereos are seized due to complaints of excessive noise

Hundreds of stereos are seized due to complaints of excessive noise

Wellington City Council's Noise Control Team Leader, Richard Leeson, says complaints about noise from neighbours tend to increase in summer as the warmer weather brings more parties, barbeques, festivals and people sitting outdoors playing music.

"In summer we average about 350 noise complaints a week, mostly in residential areas. Loud party and stereo noise are by far the most common complaints."

Richard says people are entitled to make a certain amount of noise as they work and play - but there are limits. Noise under human control that is assessed as unreasonably interfering with the peace, comfort and convenience of the complainant is deemed to be excessive.

"At any time of the day or night you have the right to have excessive noise stopped or reduced. This requires a subjective assessment by a noise officer.

"When assessing whether noise is excessive we take into consideration what time it is, how loud the noise is and the character of the noise. For example a certain level of noise from a stereo, construction, parties or people may be acceptable at one o'clock in the afternoon, but the same level of noise may not be acceptable at one o'clock in the morning."

Noise complaints should be made to our 24-hour contact centre - just phone (04) 499 4444. You will be asked to phone back after 15 minutes to let us know if the noise continues. This ensures that complaints involving continuing noise are prioritised. Once we receive the second call, the noise control officers are then despatched to investigate.

Once on site, the officers make an assessment and if the noise is considered to be excessive, a noise direction notice is served which applies for 72 hours.

If the notice is breached within this 72-hour period the noise control officer, accompanied by a Police officer, is allowed to enter the premises and remove whatever equipment is causing the noise.

Anyone making unreasonable or excessive noise can also be fined up to a maximum of $10,000 if they fail to comply with direction to reduce the noise to a reasonable level.

Richard says many of the complaints are caused by people not showing any consideration towards their neighbours.

If you are having a party, talk to your neighbours, try to keep the noise down and don't go too late. And the most unusual noise complaint of late - wind chimes.

"The wind in Wellington is a big contributor to some noise complaints!" says Richard.

For more information, phone (04) 499 4444 and ask to speak to a member of the Environmental Noise team, or go to:

Noise Control