Offensive odours can have a significant impact on health. Many odours contain irritants that can aggravate asthma or other lung conditions. However, odour complaints can be particularly complex for Council to investigate as many factors are variable, such as prevailing
weather conditions and wind patterns.
To allow us to investigate, when notifying Council of an ongoing offensive odour, you will need to tell us:
Approval from Council is required before installing a solid wood heater.
If your wood heater is smoking, it might not be operating as efficiently as possible. Wood smoke pollution can harm the environment, your health and the health of your family. For tips on better wood burning visit
Smoke from wood heaters is deemed 'excessive' when there is a visible plume coming from the chimney for a continuous period of at least 10 minutes and within that time the plume extends at least 10 metres from the chimney for at least 30 seconds. Council can investigate excessive
smoke and issue a 'Smoke Abatement Order' in certain situations.
Read or download the
Approvals to Burn brochure (pdf 2.32MB).
The burning of household and garden waste in the open and in incinerators can cause air pollution and can disturb neighbours. It is regulated by the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2002 to protect local and regional air quality, human health
and local amenity.
The Regulation strictly prohibits burning:
This legislation gives Council the ability to approve the burning of dead vegetation. The burning of cut and stacked vegetation is called a pile burn. Pile burns are permitted from April to September each year on rural properties larger than 1 acre providing certain conditions are
Backyard burning (other than approved pile burns), including the burning of domestic waste and vegetation, is prohibited in the Penrith Local Government Area and on-the-spot fines apply.
For information about conducting hazard reduction burns on private land or to obtain a permit, contact your local Rural Fire Service.
Notice of Approval to Burn (2017) (accessible pdf 148KB).
Some industrial premises also cause air pollution while carrying out their business activities. The release of odours, dust and other particles through poorly maintained equipment or inappropriate practices can contribute to poor air quality. If businesses are found
to be contributing to local air pollution, Council may be able to take action under the provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
Emissions from motor vehicle exhausts are a major contributor to particle pollution and photochemical smog in Sydney. Often excess levels of smoke indicate a vehicle is not properly tuned, or it may require a service.
If a vehicle emits visible smoke for a continuous period of at least 10 seconds it can be reported to the Environment Protection Authority Pollution Line on
131 555, or
through an online form. To report a vehicle, the following information is required:
Noise from things like air conditioners, alarms, animals and parties is often the cause of neighbourhood disputes.
There are laws that can be used to prevent people from creating 'offensive', although no legislation specifies an exact offensive noise level. The
NSW Department of Environment and Heritage website has useful information about noise pollution, including brochures.
Council has power to take action in relation to some noise pollution matters under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act). Our Environmental Health Officers can serve notices to residents and businesses, requiring them to control offensive noise.
If neighbourhood noise is a problem for you, there are several things you can do. See our
problems and disputes page for more information.
Offensive noise is defined as noise that, by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances is:
If you make a complaint to Council, one of our officers will assess the noise against the existing background noise level. If the noise is considered to be offensive, the officer will then take appropriate action to have the noise reduced to an acceptable
level. Whether a particular noise is deemed to be offensive is based on a subjective assessment by an authorised officer of Council, which is based on the provisions of the POEO Act.
In addition, certain activities or equipment have restricted hours of operation that apply as outlined in the Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008. These restrictions apply where noise from these activities or
equipment can be heard within a habitable room of another residence with or without the windows or doors open.
Outside these hours, restrictions may be placed on the use of these activities or equipment if they are causing offensive levels of noise.
Council can take further action if the person does not comply with a notice.
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