Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

EPA silences noisy motorists in Penrith

Media release: 16 August 2017

The streets of Penrith are now a bit quieter following a joint operation between the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), NSW Police and Roads & Maritime Services.

The operation targeted vehicles making excessive noise, and saw a total of 25 vehicles tested with 22 vehicle defect notices issued for a range of offences.

EPA inspectors issued 19 fines totalling $6050 in penalty notices.  During the operation, EPA inspectors detected four major noise pollution breaches including a Harley Davidson with an exhaust emitting an unbearably loud 113 decibels – the equivalent to the noise produced by a jackhammer.

As the sound was 23 decibels over the legal limit, the driver was fined $300 for failing to have an appropriate muffler installed on the bike.

RMS inspectors also found a Nissan Skyline with major tampering on the safety airbag system. The driver’s air bag had been removed and replaced with a sport steering wheel. This is a significant safety issue.

EPA Director for Corporate Services, Owen Walker, acknowledged the expertise of the Police and RMS, and their contribution to making the operation a success.

“Our research indicated that Penrith was a hotspot for vehicles making excessive noise, which was proven by the high number of cars inspected and fined” Mr Walker said.

“We want to remind motorists with illegal modifications that the EPA regularly conducts operations like this up to 15-20 times a year right across NSW.

“Our message to vehicle owners is this – respect the community, and ensure that noise from your vehicle is kept within legal limits, or you may face fines and other action.

“Owners can modify their exhaust systems but they must stay within legal limits.”

Noisy vehicles can be reported via the EPA’s website at, or report to EPA App or via the Environment Line on 131 555.

You will be required to provide your contact details; the noisy vehicle’s registration plate; a description of the vehicle such as make, model, colour and type; the location, date and time where the noisy vehicle was observed. Your details will be kept confidential.

The legal exhaust noise limit for vehicles varies depending on the vehicle year, make and model. The prescribed levels are on the EPA website.

Ten ways to avoid having a noisy vehicle:
1. Ensure that your exhaust system is in good order and maintained regularly
2. Use exhaust systems that are the same as those originally designed for the vehicle
3. Have your exhaust noise tested after fitting an aftermarket exhaust system
4. Seek advice from reputable suppliers before purchasing aftermarket components
5. Don’t fit non-standard belt drives or gears, pod-type air cleaners, or vented-to-atmosphere waste gates or blow-off valves to your engine
6. Be aware of the noise sensitivity of the areas you are passing through
7. Use horns for collision avoidance only
8. Avoid excessive acceleration and unnecessary sudden braking
9. Use car sound systems responsibly

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 17 August 2017