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.

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 your 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 uses 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

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 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)

Noise is the most common cause of complaint to the Council, so for information see our Noise in the City page.

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

o The Community Titles Act 1996 or

o The Strata Titles Act 1988 or

o The Residential Tenancies Act 1995

  • 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.

Exemptions

If an activity you are proposing to do in the City of 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.  

Current and upcoming approved exemptions under the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016

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 person

Try and discuss your concerns with the people (e.g. neighbours) 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 on 8204 2004 24/7 or email [email protected].

Need more information?

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

08 8203 7203

Send an email