We respond to complaints about unreasonable or excessive noise in the community and take action when the noise unreasonably interferes with your peace, comfort and convenience.
If at any time you are disturbed by excessive or unreasonable noise, call the Environmental Health Office at the Napier City Council. A noise control officer will assess the noise leaving the property concerned and if it is deemed to be excessive or unreasonable the noise level will be required to be reduced.
This does not, however, include noise from vehicles unless they are on private property.
After hours call the Napier City Council and you will be directed to make your complaint.
The Resource Management Act 1991
The noise control provisions under this Act are designed to:
- Protect the public from excessive or unreasonable noise
- Protect the rights of people and industry to make a reasonable amount of noise
- Set out obligations for all of us to keep noise to a reasonable level
Noise Not Covered By The Act
There are situations where we cannot help as the type of noise is specifically covered or controlled by other legislation. The most common situations include:
- Barking dogs - Dog Control Act, contact Napier City Council
- Noisy vehicles on the road - Traffic Regulations, contact NZ Police
- Noise within the workplace - Health and Safety in Employment Act, contact OSH
- Noise between tenants with the same landlord - Residential Tenancies Act, contact your landlord
Under the Act, you must keep noise from your property to a "reasonable" level. Although there is no clear definition of what is "reasonable", generally noise should not disturb your neighbours or be clearly audible beyond your property boundary.
Noise In Your Neighbourhood
Everybody should expect some degree of noise in their neighbourhood from time to time. We do not regulate everyday activities such as mowing lawns, building construction, road repairs etc. While such noise may be a nuisance to you temporarily, provided the hours of operation are reasonable, we may not respond to such complaints.
There are certain noisy activities in our community that we cannot reduce or abate immediately. This is generally industrial or commercial noise. A full noise assessment and measurements may be carried out to determine if the noise level is in breach of any District Plan rules. If the noise is found to be unreasonable, we may serve an Abatement Notice requiring the noise to be reduced within a set period of time.
Excessive noise is under human control and defined as noise being of "such a nature as to unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience" of any person. Loud party and stereo noise and noise from licensed premises are the most common source of complaints. Assessment of the noise is subjective and noise measurements do not need to be taken. If noise is excessive the Noise Control Officer will request that the noise be reduced to a reasonable level. This may be verbally or as a written notice which remains in force for 72 hours. If the noise is not reduced the Noise Control Officer, with Police assistance, may enter the premises and seize and impound the equipment or take away any working parts or lock or seal it to make it inoperable.
Reclaiming Impounded Equipment
If you have had your noise making equipment seized by noise control to collect your equipment you need to:
- phone the Council to arrange a suitable time with a Noise Control officer. Equipment is available for pick up Fridays between 8:30 and 10:00 am and will not be released outside of these hours.
- pay a seizure fee which covers seizure costs, transport, storage and administration.
- provide proof you own the equipment, such as warranty, sale or hire purchase documents including - if possible - serial numbers.
- provide proof of ID (driver's licence or similar).
- complete an application form saying the excessive noise won't continue if the equipment is returned to you.
- Remember: if any equipment is seized from a noise maker on a second occasion it is highly unlikely it will be returned.
Planning A Party
If you are planning a party, be considerate of your neighbours and the community and take a few simple steps:
- Inform your neighbours about the event in advance
- Ask them to phone you if the noise is too loud
- Consider the time of your event - neighbours will be more tolerant during reasonable hours
- Keep window and doors closed to contain the noise
- Reduce the bass level of the musicKeep guests inside
For regular band practices choose a location where the noise will not disturb others, such as an industrial area.
Having Problems With Noise?
If you have a noisy neighbour, try talking to them first. If the problem persists, phone the Napier City Council on 8357579. The Noise Control service is available 24 hours and an officer will respond to excessive noise (such as music) at the time of the complaint.