The Council Form Letter

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First paragraph of a Form letter sent to Chris Quinlan

(note that this is a first contact letter, no neighbour had come forward to attempt an amicable arrangement; no Council officer had come to the area to first investigate the validity of the noise nuisance claim.)


Alleged Noise Nuisance at (insert address here)

Council’s Public Health Unit has received complaints regarding excessive noise emissions due to drums being played causing a disturbance to the complainant.

.... the remainder of the letter uses the words

noise, nuisance, offensive, noxious, annoying, injurious, heavy penalties, unreasonable , written records will be kept ... may take further action.

.... signed

Team Leader Health and Environment


In another context, if any parent heard those words used toward their son or daughter, in a neighbourhood street or in a school report ....

What consequences would there be towards the person making those remarks?

School teachers, Music Examiners and any Child Carer are fully briefed in approaches toward a student’s studies; the tone of a typical Council noise nuisance letter in the case of the recipient being under the age of eighteen would be seen as completely inappropriate.

The officious tone of the letter also gives a clear perception of attacking the person, not the problem.

Working toward a Solution

There is a consensus that there is no inherent problem with Section 48a of the Environment Protection Act and the Prohibited times as stated by the EPA.

However there are widespread concerns of the current handling of these disputes.

Current procedures have seemed to only exacerbate the dispute into a nasty neighbourhood conflict with “nasty letters” being sent to young students as a first resort rather than last.

Although there has been talk of sound measurements being taken in the Case studies provided, no decibel level readings have been taken at any time before letters have been sent.

In all of the case studies, procedures are perceived “to be escalating the disputes” by all parties involved.

The first paragraph of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) booklet entitled “Residential Noise” is ... quote

“The best approach for dealing with noisy neighbours is to talk to them and work together on a solution to settle the problem.”

This approach is also the first piece of advice on the Department of Justice’ “Tips for Better Communication” Information Sheet

In so many cases, this has seen to be the best and most amicable solution.

New Procedures for Discussion

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