At any time of the day or night you have the right to have excessive noise stopped or reduced. The typical complaints we receive include loud parties (stereos), alarms, construction and industrial activity.
Frequently asked questions and answers are available below. To lodge a complaint or to find out more information, please call Council on (06) 366 0999.
What is Excessive Noise?
Excessive noise is any noise that is under human control and of such a nature as to unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person. Examples of excessive noise may include a loud party, stereo, band practices, burglar alarm or machinery. Under the Resource Management Act everyone has a responsibility to avoid making noise.
There is no one set level for noise that is acceptable. The level of noise that is acceptable varies according to location of neighbours, time of day, zone you live/work in, presence of sound barriers and the type of noise.
The same noise levels during the day may not be acceptable at night.
How is Noise Controlled?
Under the Resource Management Act 1991, Horowhenua District Council has the power to control excessive or unreasonable noise. Noise from moving vehicles such as aircraft, boats and trains is not controlled by the Excessive Noise provisions.
What if Noise Control are Called Out?
If a Noise Control Officer is called out to investigate the noise they will determine if the noise is reasonable and within permissible levels. It may not be necessary to use monitoring equipment to determine if the noise is excessive. If the noise is deemed to be excessive a Noise Control Officer may serve a written direction to reduce noise which is in force for up to 72 hours. Failure to obey the notice can result in equipment seizure or a fine up to $10,000.
When Can I Complain?
You can complain about excessive noise at any time of day or night, but it is important to phone when the noise is occurring so that action can be taken. The noise maker is not advised as to who complained. Your details are only required by the Council in order for them to monitor ongoing noise problems
What Happens if the Noise Continues?
If the noise continues you will need to ring back to advise that the noise is still disturbing and to find out what action has been taken by a Noise Control Officer.
Ongoing Problems with Noise
Further investigation or action may be required to deal effectively with some noise sources such as noise from industrial or commercial sites. If the problem is of a technical nature there may be a need to use noise monitoring equipment. In this case, time is required to fully investigate the noise and bring the issue to a conclusion.
There is no permit you can get to make noise for a party, or to play your stereo on full, or to use that skill saw, but there are a few things which you can keep in mind:
- Be considerate of your neighbours
- Ensure burglar alarms cut off after 15 minutes
- Ensure car alarms are installed correctly and are not over sensitive or faulty
- Inform neighbours in advance about a party or invite your neighbours
- Advise neighbours of planned work on your section that may be noisy
- Minimise noise travelling from your property by keeping doors or windows closed
- Turn down the noise at a reasonable hour at night
- Don't start up noise equipment such as chain saws early in the mornings or late in the evenings.
What Happens if Equipment is Seized?
If your equipment is seized it will be delivered to a secure lock-up. The equipment will be returned if Horowhenua District Council is satisfied that it will not be used to create further noise problems.
To ensure that the equipment is returned to the rightful owners please bring proof of identity and the original copy of the seizure notice.
You will need to pay the cost for the call outs, storage and delivery. It is important to phone to find out where to collect your goods and how much money is owed, as payment must be in cash and no cheques will be accepted. EFT-POS facilities are available for non-credit card accounts.
What if I Feel the Complaints are Unjust?
It is important to contact Council. They can discuss the problem with you and investigate your allegation.