Commercial and industrial noise

Commercial and industrial noise includes noise from industry, commercial premises, office blocks, shops, mines and quarries and some farming activities.

Noise from businesses can significantly impact on local communities, particularly where it disturbs sleep at night. Ongoing noise disturbance can impact on human health. EPA sets standards for industry noise to provide a balance between protecting community wellbeing and amenity near industrial premises, and supporting the social and economic value of industry.

This page is a resource for government regulators, such as local government, and operators managing noise from their commercial and industrial site.

Information for residents reporting noise

If you are a resident concerned about commercial or industrial noise you can report the noise to EPA or your local council. EPA mainly investigates noise from industries such as EPA-licensed sites and manufacturing sites. Investigations into noise from shops and other small commercial premises are usually resolved at the local level, and reports should be made to your local council. See below for information on wind energy facility noise.

To report industry noise, please call the EPA Pollution Hotline on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

If you want to know more about the standards for noise control, see the SEPP N-1 and NIRV explanatory notes (publication 1412).

Introduction to noise standards

In Victoria, there are two main instruments that set the acceptable levels for industry noise impacting on sensitive areas. The controls for noise depend on where the commercial or industrial premises are located. They are supported by explanatory notes and, for noise outside of metropolitan Melbourne, an application guide.

Noise limit flow chart.

Figure: Setting noise limits or levels. See larger image.

Melbourne metropolitan area

In the Melbourne metropolitan area, the State Environment Protection Policy (Control of Noise from Commerce, Industry and Trade) No. N-1 sets limits for noise from industry. Limits are set at ‘noise sensitive areas’ such as homes. Under section 46 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 compliance with SEPP N-1 is mandatory.

Rest of Victoria

The guideline Noise from industry in regional Victoria (NIRV) (PDF 0.89MB) applies outside the Melbourne metropolitan area.

Government regulators and industry operators using NIRV to manage noise should also refer to Applying NIRV to proposed and existing industry (publication 1411).

NIRV was published in October 2011, replacing the Interim guidelines for control of noise from industry in country Victoria (publication N3/89). EPA’s response to comments on the consultation draft is presented in the Response to comments: noise from industry in regional Victoria (publication 1413).

Wind energy facility noise

The rural noise guideline NIRV applies to commercial and industrial premises with the exception of wind energy facilities. Specific standards have been developed that respond to particular characteristics of wind turbine noise, which are applied through the planning system (Department of Planning and Community Development).

Reports about wind energy facility noise should be made to the relevant planning authority - your local council or the Department of Planning and Community Development. These authorities oversee planning permit requirements for noise monitoring and complaint response. The planning permit is usually the most effective tool for ensuring wind turbine noise levels are properly assessed. Where appropriate, EPA provides technical support to planning authorities.

Other noise

See information on controls and guidelines for other noise sources, such as from commercial/industrial construction sites, public address systems, rubbish collection and shops. EPA’s guidelines are often applied by local council through local laws or permits. EPA can also advise on the best way to deal with your problem.

Page last updated on 23 Dec 2014