Source: Government of Victoria 3
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has flagged some changes to residential noise regulations, and is looking closely at how long and how late we can use our air conditioners in summer. The regulations cover noise from a range of common household items, including air conditioners. EPA Executive Director Dr Cathy Wilkinson says the regulations come up for consideration every ten years. “We’ve been talking to the enforcing bodies, local councils and Victoria Police and now it’s the public’s turn to have their say between now and June 18.
“Under current regulations, you can’t use an air conditioner after 10 pm if it can be heard from next door, but summers can be long and hot, and we are looking at extending that to 11 pm,” Dr Wilkinson said.
“EPA is also considering allowing air conditioners to run all night in regions where Victoria’s Chief Health Officer declares a Heat Health Alert, when prolonged hot weather poses a threat to the elderly, young children or Victorians with health issues,” she said.
“Now we are asking the public to tell us whether we are getting the balance right.”
The residential noise regulations cover other typical household items such as lawnmowers, stereos and power tools, and the times of day when you can use them.
“It’s based on what’s acceptable in a residential neighbourhood. You can start up a petrol-powered lawn mower during the day, but six o’clock on a Sunday morning is not fair to the neighbours,” Dr Wilkinson said.
There are some things the regulations don’t cover, such as barking dogs or human voices, so loud talking and singing can be done within reason, but there’s a curfew on it if you are using an amplifier or a karaoke machine. And as residential regulations, they don’t cover bars, pubs and industrial premises; like the barking dog, those are covered by other legislation.
“Items specifically mentioned in the Residential Noise Regulations include motor vehicles, lawn mowers, electrical tools and equipment, domestic heating/cooling equipment, pumps, musical instruments, radios and televisions, but any noise can be unreasonable if it is loud enough, and the regulations also apply to houses under renovation,” Dr Wilkinson said.
“EPA welcomes your feedback on the proposal to keep the regulations in place and the proposed changes to the use of noisy air conditioners,” she said.
“Above all, it’s about being fair to everyone, and EPA always recommends that you talk to your neighbours, whether you are the one making the noise, or the one with your fingers in your ears.”
“Experience shows that a conversation between neighbours can often solve the problem without having to go to the local Council; sometimes the neighbour making the noise didn’t even know you could hear it next door,” Dr Wilkinson said.
There’s plenty of information on the Residential Noise Regulations on the EPA website, at:
The current regulations expire in October 2018, and you can make a written submission until 5 pm Monday, 18 June:
online at Engage Victoria (https://engage.vic.gov.au/residential-noise-regulations)
by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
by post to Residential Noise RIS
c/o Policy and Regulation Unit
Environment Protection Authority
GPO Box 4395
Melbourne Victoria 3001