Noise

Overview

What is noise pollution?

Noise pollution is sound at a level which is annoying, distracting or physically harmful. This can mean different things to different people. In residential areas, what is an acceptable level of noise to one person may be unacceptable to another, as well as dependent on the time of the day and the nature of the activity generating the noise.

We take these matters seriously and ask that all residents be mindful of their neighbours and of who may be impacted by the noise they are emitting.

How do I resolve a noise complaint?

Often the best approach for dealing with noise is to talk to the other party and work together on a solution to settle the problem. If the problem cannot be resolved, then Victoria Police and Council may become involved depending on the circumstances.

For more information about how to resolve noise disputes, visit:

Scareguns

Scareguns are used to deter birds from crops or orchards. They work by producing an explosive noise by ignition of a charge of gas and air to scare birds away.

Indigo Shire is home to many orchards, particularly in townships like Stanley that produce high-quality apples, stone fruit, berries and nuts. It’s one of the things that makes Indigo Shire such a fantastic place to live. Scareguns are commonly used by some orchardists in these areas.

Occasionally the use of scareguns can cause issues for nearby neighbours.

It is important that we balance the right of producers to protect their crops whilst ensuring peaceful amenity for nearby neighbours.

What are the guidelines for the use of scareguns?

Scareguns need to be used in accordance with the Environment Protection Authority’s noise control guidelines and the Indigo Shire Local Law No 2 Clause 20 which aims to the balance the needs of producers and nearby residents.

Guidelines for the control of noise from scare guns:

  • A scaregun must not be used if the distance between the scaregun and any complainant's house is less than 300m.
  • The scaregun must not emit more than 70 blasts/day.
  • The scaregun must not be used earlier than 7 am or later than sunset. Earlier starting times will be allowed if this is agreed to by the complainants.
  • The total time of operation of a scaregun must not exceed 12 hours in any one day. However, the time of operation may be divided into two separate periods, provided the interval between blasts is not less than six minutes.
  • The scaregun must be located as far away as possible from any complainant’s house.
  • Wherever possible, the shielding effects of natural features, buildings and so on shall be used to reduce the level of the blasts at complainants’ houses.
  • Wherever possible, the use of the scaregun shall be minimised.

How else can I protect my crop?

Scareguns are not the only way to protect your crop from birds. If you can’t use a scaregun within the above guidelines, other bird control methods could be successful. These include:

  • kites, shaped like birds of prey
  • chemical sprays that are unpalatable to some species of small birds
  • plastic strips that hum in the wind
  • nets and plastic mesh
  • noise generators such as ‘Av-alarm’, ‘Pestaway Agricultural Noise Generator’ or a ‘white noise’ generator. (The first two produce a high level of noise which may cause annoyance to residents if living nearby. The last-mentioned device produces a cicada-like sound and has been found to be particularly effective with silvereyes).

If you are unsure about your ability to meet the above guidelines, the please contact the Indigo Shire Environmental Health team on 1300 365 003. We can work together on alternative methods to protect your crop.

I have a noise complaint about the use of a scaregun, what should I do?

We understand that, when not used appropriately, the noise from scareguns can sometimes be an issue for nearby residents. There are steps you can take to resolve issues relating to noise.

Try talking to your neighbor to see if you can come to a compromise. If this doesn’t work, contact the Indigo Shire Environmental Health Team.

For more information

The EPA noise control guidelines provide more information on the appropriate use of scareguns and alternatives for bird control.

Motorbikes

Indigo Shire Council often receives noise complaints from residents in relation to excessive noise caused by long periods of off-road motorbikes being ridden on private properties.

What are rules around the use of motorbikes?

Rules on motorbikes differ depending on the zoning of the land. Farmers may use off-road or quad bikes for farm work or mustering for long periods however many people purchase small acreage allotments to enjoy recreational use of their motorbike for themselves or their children. This can be at odds with residents who purchase such land for the space and peace away from neighbours.

Noise can, depending on the circumstances, be determined by Council to be a statutory nuisance under the the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic). The act empowers Council to investigate nuisances (including those relating to noise, emissions, activities and other matters), to issue notices, and to issue criminal and civil court proceedings against the offenders. Unfortunately the Victorian guidelines do not specify a time period that might be considered excessive however using the other states as a yardstick, riding for over two hours in one session could be considered unreasonable.

Additionally, the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic) makes it an offence to cause objectionable noise or unreasonable noise, and provides Council with further enforcement powers including directions, infringements and again criminal court proceedings.

The act specifically prohibits the emission of motor vehicle noise (except entering/leaving a premises) before 7am or after 8pm Monday to Friday, and before 9am or after 8pm on weekends or public holidays.

However, noise during these times may still be deemed to be objectionable, unreasonable or a nuisance (for example if it continues for too long, is too loud, or has an unreasonable or serious impact on neighbours).