What is a ‘local nuisance’?
According to the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016, local nuisance is defined as being “any adverse impact on the amenity value of an area, which unreasonably interferes with, or is likely to unreasonably interfere with, the enjoyment of that area by people in that area”.
Local nuisances are generally grouped into four main categories:
Common causes of dust disturbance include:
- land clearing (exposed surface)
- construction, building and or demolition works
- activities being carried out around a domestic premises (landscaping)
How can you reduce or mitigate dust whilst undertaking dust generating activities?
- where possible, schedule activities when weather conditions are favourable (eg little or no wind)
- retain as much vegetation on a site as possible (eg grass or small amounts of vegetation)
- create physical barriers (eg solid fences of fencing covered in shade cloth)
- spray water on the topsoil in dry conditions to reduce dust leaving from the site.
Common causes of smoke disturbance include:
- backyard burning
- open wood fires
- Solid fuel (combustion heaters)
- extraction units
How can you reduce or mitigate smoke whilst undertaking the activity?
- planning and design play a part in avoiding potential smoke issues, so when installing wood burning heaters, pizza ovens, etc consider chimney placement
- ensure clean dry fuel is burnt in wood burning heaters; check outside after 20 minutes and if smoke is visible adjust the vents to improve the fire
- don’t burn garbage/painted timber/treated timber (such as permapine) or particle board, as these can release toxic fumes when burnt
- only use charcoal or BBQ briquettes outdoors for cooking or warmth
Common causes of odour disturbance include:
- dirty or poorly maintained waste bins
- uncovered compost heaps
- rotting vegetation or food scraps
- painting or varnishing
How can you reduce or mitigate odour whilst undertaking odour generating activities?
- minimise waste on the premises
- ensure composting and mulching is done correctly to avoid smells
- clean waste bins regularly and get rid of any accumulated or smelly waste
- be mindful when using and storing paints, chemicals and other products which may cause strong and offensive odours
Common causes of noise disturbance include:
- air conditioning units
- domestic pool pumps
- power tools and machinery
How can you reduce or mitigate noise whilst undertaking noise generating activities?
- planning and design play an important part in avoiding potential issues. Where practical, locate noisy appliances as far away as possible from neighbouring premises (especially areas like bedrooms)
- where possible consider installing physical barriers to reduce noise
- consult and communicate with your neighbours about the activity and duration
- use power tools within allowed hours (domestic premises)
- 8:00 am and 8:00 pm (Monday to Saturday)
- 9:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sundays and public holidays
- construction noise should be limited to allowed hours 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (Monday to Saturday).
What’s not a local nuisance?
Under the Act, the following things do not constitute a local nuisance. In some cases, they may be covered and reported under a different Act or Regulations. If you are not sure, give us a call on 8269 5355 and we will be able to point you in the right direction.
- Any approval (consent, licence, permit or entitlement) granted under any other Act or Legislation
- Licensed premises
- Fireworks displays
- Sporting or associated activities at sporting venues
- Community events run by or on behalf of a Council (subject to any conditions imposed by Council)
- Public infrastructure works
- Noise from vehicles (other than vehicles operating within, or entering or leaving business premises)
- Subject of legal proceedings under
- Music or voices or both resulting from an activity at domestic premises
- Activities carried on in the normal course of a school kindergarten child care centre or place of worship
- Aircraft or railway noise
- Emergency vehicles sirens.
If an activity you are proposing to do may generate a local nuisance (e.g. smoke/noise/dust/odour) under the Act, you may apply to Council for an exemption, which may be granted in situation where exceptional circumstances exists.
An application for an exemption must:
* be made to council in writing which includes all information that is required by regulation:
- name and address details of applicant
- site location
- date/s and time/s of proposed activity
- exception circumstances and why you require this exemption (including the nature of the proposed activity and the anticipated sources and kinds of local nuisance generated by the activity)
- Site Nuisance Management Plan or Construction Environment Management Plan
* be made at least two (2) weeks prior to commencing the activity, for activities predicted to last less than 24 hours
* be made at least four (4) weeks prior to commencing the activity for activities predicted to last more than 24 hours
Note: for applications relating to extreme weather, a shorter time frame has been fixed of five (5) calendar days.
As part of the process you are required to consult with residents/businesses in your local community. You must advise them in writing of your intended works, the dates/times and the possible effects.
What to do when the disturbance becomes a problem
Speak to the person
A friendly chat or cup of tea is often the most effective way to find a solution as often people aren’t aware of the effect they are having on others. Try and discuss your concerns with the people (such as neighbours, workmen) causing the nuisance and be patient, as sometimes it may take them a few days to find a solution.
Contact the Body Corporate
If the nuisance is coming from premises which is part of a Body Corporate or Strata Group, you will need to contact the Body Corporate or Strata Group directly to seek a resolution as the nuisance is likely to be a breach of their rules and regulations.
Reporting a nuisance
If the above measures have bought no resolution, contact us during officer hours with as much information as possible. As part of our investigation, we will consider the following:
- does the Local Nuisance adversely affect the amenity of the area and reduce the ability of people to enjoy the indoor and outdoor environment?
- is the nuisance unreasonable in the context of the local area/environment?
Reporting a nuisance after hours
To report a nuisance outside of business hours, please contact SA Police on 131 444 if the matter is urgent.
If the nuisance is serious
If the nuisance has the potential for serious or material environmental harm you should contact the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) directly on 8204 2004.
If you would like any more information, or to make a complaint, please contact us by phone on (08) 8269 5355, or via email at email@example.com.