Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

EPA silences noisy Sydney motorists

Media release: 4 May 2017


The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has its ears pricked to noisy vehicles in 2017, after fines worth a total $42,000 were issued to motorists in Sydney and Wollongong in 2016.

A total of 145 motorists were caught by the EPA during 11 on-road enforcement operations in noisy vehicle hotspots at La Perouse, Botany Bay, Rockdale, Woolloomooloo, the Northern Beaches and Wollongong. The enforcement operations are run in partnership with NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Services.

The EPA also issued warnings or inspection orders 2,174 times during the year.

EPA Director Owen Walker said the 2017 campaign had already launched with 55 noisy vehicles fined during operations in Botany, Rockdale, Bankstown and Kings Cross this year.  

“The EPA takes excessive noise from vehicles very seriously. It can cause significant distress in surrounding communities including sleep deprivation.”

Mr Walker said that the noise from some vehicles pulled over was similar to the levels of a jackhammer, with some vehicles recording noise levels in excess of 113 decibels which was 23 decibels over the legal limit.

“Modified exhausts are a common noise culprit. There is a misperception that a louder exhaust means more power, but that’s not the case,” Mr Walker said.

“Our message to vehicle owners is this - ensure that noise from your vehicle is kept within a reasonable level, or you may face fines and other action.”

Fines range from $150 to $600 for an individual and from $300 to $1200 for a corporation.

“People can help us by reporting noisy vehicles in their area to the EPA through Report to EPA on our website. We will order the owner to present their vehicle for inspection.”

Noisy vehicles can be reported via the EPA’s website at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/noise/noisyexhaust.htm, 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
10. Avoid making offensive noise when operating off-road motor vehicles

EPA Regulatory action against noisy vehicles 2014 - 2016:

Year

Advisory letters*

Vehicle Inspection Notices**

Penalty Notices***

Motorcycles

Cars

Motorcycles

Cars

Motorcycles

Cars

2016

160

808

562

644

19

126

2015

120

724

514

692

13

91

2014

107

483

716

836

25

123


* Advisory letters are issued based on reports of a noisy vehicle received from members of the community. The letter advises the vehicle owner that a report has been received and encourages the vehicle owner to have their vehicles exhaust noise checked.

** Vehicle Inspection Notices are issued based on reports received from police or if the EPA receives multiple reports of the same vehicle from members of the community. The Vehicle Inspection Notices requires the vehicle owner to present their vehicle to an EPA Approved Inspection Station for an exhaust noise test and an inspection of the vehicles anti-pollution equipment.

*** Penalty Notices are issued when EPA Officers inspect and test a vehicle as part of a joint compliance operation with NSW Police. 

 -ENDS-

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 04 May 2017