Local nuisance

Interference with your enjoyment of the area you live, work, or play

The many sounds, sights and smells in the city of Adelaide add to its vibrant atmosphere and appeal, making the city a fantastic place to live, work and visit. Occasionally however, this is not the case, and they disturb your enjoyment of an area. This is known as a local nuisance.

Applicant: Camco

Location: Intersection of North Terrace and George Street

Dates: Every Sunday from 16 June to 17 July

Duration: 7:00 am to 3:00 pm

Activity: Civil works

Applicant: City of Adelaide

Location: City of Adelaide Local Government Area boundaries

Dates: Tuesday 21 June to Wednesday 21 September

Duration: Monday to Saturday, 3:00 am to 7:00 am

Sunday, 12:00 am to 11:59 pm

Activity: Essential services to public infrastructure such as leaf blowing, street sweeping, footpath scrubbing, pressure cleaning, and waste collection

View exemption

The Waste and Cleansing Team maintain the cleanness of the CoA. The Waste and Cleansing team start as early as 3am in order to undertake core cleansing work in a safe and productive manner. The works are conducted in the early mornings to avoid unreasonable interruptions to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for commuters and visitors accessing the city. Attending to high traffic locations at a later time is not viable due to the unique circumstances and traffic loads. Works conducted at the time include leaf blowing, waste collection, scrubbing and street sweeping.

Applicant: Kennedy Property Services

Location: 3 Angas Street

Dates: Wednesday 22 June to Wednesday 13 July

Duration: Monday to Friday, 7:00 pm to 11:59 pm

Tuesday to Friday, 12:00 am to 5:00 am

Activity: Grinding of concrete floor for water feature.

View exemption

Applicant: Downer EDI Works

Location: Currie Street and Grenfell Street, between Morphett Street and East Terrace

Dates: Monday 4 July to Thursday 7 July

Duration: 7:00 pm to 12:00 am

Activity: Service penetrant adjustments with recent road pavement patching works

Applicant: McMahon Services Australia

Dates: Saturday 4 July to Friday 16 December

Activity: New Women's and Children's Hospital tunnel boring to relocate existing storm water and detention.

Applicant: Flo Traffic Services

Location: 69–71 Melbourne Street

Dates: Sunday 10 July

Duration: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Activity: Decommissioning crane tower

What is a ‘local nuisance’?

According to the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016, local nuisance is defined as being "any adverse impact on the amenity value of an area, which unreasonably interferes with, or is likely to unreasonably interfere with, the enjoyment of that area by people in that area".

Local nuisances are generally grouped into four main categories:

Common causes of dust disturbance include:

  • land clearing (exposed surface)
  • construction, building and or demolition works
  • activities being carried out around a domestic premises (landscaping).

How can you reduce or mitigate dust whilst undertaking dust generating activities?

  • where possible, schedule activities when weather conditions are favourable (e.g.- little/no wind)
  • retain as much vegetation on a site as possible (e.g. grass or small amounts of vegetation)
  • create physical barriers (e.g. solid fences or fencing covered in shade cloth)
  • spray water on the topsoil in dry conditions to reduce dust leaving from the site.

Common causes of smoke disturbance include:

  • backyard burning
  • open wood fires
  • solid fuel (combustion) heaters
  • extraction units.

How can you reduce or mitigate smoke whilst undertaking the activity?

  • check outside after 20 minutes; if smoke is visible adjust the vents to improve the fire
  • don’t burn garbage/painted timber/treated timber (such as permapine) or particle board, as these can release toxic fumes when burnt
  • when backyard burning only use charcoal and only for warmth or cooking.

Common causes of odour disturbance include:

  • dirty or poorly maintained waste bins
  • uncovered compost heaps
  • rotting vegetation or food scraps
  • painting or varnishing.

How can you reduce or mitigate odour whilst undertaking odour generating activities?

  • minimise waste on the premises
  • ensure composting and mulching is done correctly to avoid smells
  • clean waste bins regularly and get rid of any accumulated or smelly waste
  • be mindful when using and storing paints, chemicals and other products which may cause strong and offensive odours.

Common causes of noise disturbance include:

  • construction
  • air conditioning units
  • compressors
  • domestic pool pumps
  • power tools and machinery.

How can you reduce or mitigate noise whilst undertaking noise generating activities?

  • where practical, locate noisy appliances as far away as possible from neighbouring premises (especially areas like bedrooms)
  • consult and communicate with your neighbours about the activity and duration
  • use power tools within allowed hours (domestic premises):
    • 8:00 am and 8:00 pm (Monday to Saturday)
    • 9:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sundays and public holidays
  • construction noise should be limited to allowed hours 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (Monday to Saturday).

Under the Act, the following things do not constitute a local nuisance. In some cases, they may be covered and reported under a different Act or Regulations. If you are not sure, give our Community Safety Team a call on 8203 7203 and we will be able to point you in the right direction.

  • Any approval (consent, licence, permit or entitlement) granted under any other Act or Legislation
  • Licensed premises
  • Fireworks displays
  • Sporting or associated activities at sporting venues
  • Community events run by or on behalf of a Council (subject to any conditions imposed by Council)
  • Public infrastructure works
  • Noise from vehicles (other than vehicles operating within, or entering or leaving business premises)
  • Subject of legal proceedings under
  • Music or voices or both resulting from an activity at domestic premises
  • Activities carried on in the normal course of a school kindergarten child care centre or place of worship
  • Aircraft or railway noise
  • Emergency vehicles sirens.


If an activity you are proposing to do in the Adelaide city or North Adelaide may generate a local nuisance (e.g. smoke/noise/dust/odour) under the Act, you may apply to Council for an exemption, which may be granted in situation where exceptional circumstances exists.

An application for an exemption must:

• be made to council via our online application form which includes all information that is required by regulation

• be made at least two (2) weeks prior to commencing the activity, for activities predicted to last less than 24 hours

• be made at least four (4) weeks prior to commencing the activity for activities predicted to last more than 24 hours

Note: for applications relating to extreme weather, a shorter time frame has been fixed of five (5) calendar days.

Note: some requirements of the regulations have been reduced for applicants who have already supplied information to council through another processes (such as Development Application). Refer to application form for details.

As part of the process you are required to consult with residents/businesses in your local community. You must advise them in writing of your intended works, the dates/times and the possible effects. To help you, we've created a consultation template you can download and edit to suit your requirements.  

A note on unsightly conditions

For various reasons, properties may fall into a state of disrepair or be unkempt and have an adverse effect on the amenity value of the area.

Unsightly conditions may be caused by:

  • excessive disused or unrestrained rubbish, waste or vegetation (including stockpiled items)
  • graffiti on premises
  • premises left partially demolished or in a state of disrepair, dilapidated or damaged.

How can you reduce or mitigate local disturbances?

  • try to plan activities that may create a disturbance during the day.
  • consult and communicate with your neighbours, so if necessary they can make their own arrangements.

What to do when the disturbance becomes a problem

Speak to the person

Try and discuss your concerns with the people (such as neighbours, workmen) causing the nuisance as they may not even be aware of the effect they are having on others. Over a friendly cup of tea or barbecue is often the quickest and most effective way to find a solution. Be patient, it may take them a few days to find a solution.

Contact the Body Corporate

If the nuisance is coming from premises which is part of a Body Corporate or Strata Group, you will need to contact the Body Corporate or Strata Group directly to seek a resolution as the nuisance is likely to be a breach of their rules and regulations.

Reporting a nuisance

If the above measures have bought no resolution, contact the City of Adelaide between Monday to Friday at 8:30 am to 5:00 pm with as much information as possible. As part of our investigation, we will consider the following:

  • does the Local Nuisance adversely affect the amenity of the area and reduce the ability of people to enjoy the indoor and outdoor environment?
  • is the Local Nuisance unreasonable in the context of the local area/environment?

Reporting a nuisance after hours

To report a nuisance outside of Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, please contact SA Police on 131 444 if the matter is urgent.

Alternatively, please contact Council during business hours to report the nuisance.

If the nuisance is serious

If the nuisance has the potential for serious or material environmental harm you should contact the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) directly: 

8204 2004  (available 24/7)

Need help preparing for nearby construction? See our guide about preparing your business for disruptions here.

Need more information?

If you have any questions regarding local disturbances, please phone the Contact Centre:

8203 7203