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Environment Protection Authority

Frequently asked questions about reporting noise from motor vehicle exhaust

Am I wasting my time reporting noisy exhaust?

No. The EPA currently receives a large number of noisy exhaust reports from members of the public. Appropriate action is taken when all the required details are included in the report and can be matched to a vehicle registration. The action includes issuing an advisory letter to the registered owner of a vehicle reported to have a noisy exhaust.

Why do I have to provide my personal details when making a report?

When the motor vehicle pollution reporting service was first established, some anonymous reports were found to be vexatious. Eliminating anonymous reports helps to reduce the number of vexatious reports, which makes our system more efficient.

Will my personal details be passed on to the owner of the vehicle?

No. Reporters' personal details are protected by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

See your privacy rights

Why does so much detail need to be included in reports?

The EPA insists both the description and registration number of the observed vehicle be included in the report. The registration number is necessary to identify the registered vehicle owner. Including a description of the vehicle helps reveal any mistakes, such as a registration plate number being misread or mistyped, by cross-checking the two pieces of information.

What happens to a noisy exhaust report?

The EPA will attempt to match the vehicle description provided in the report with the registration details. If the observed vehicle’s details are matched with a vehicle registration, the EPA will issue an advisory letter to the registered owner. This letter advises the owner to have the vehicle checked and outlines the penalties associated with noisy exhaust.

The EPA may take further action, depending on the vehicle's and/or vehicle owner’s history. If a vehicle is subject to multiple reports from members of the public or reported by a an authroised officer, the EPA will require that the owner present the vehicle at an EPA approved inspection station for noise testing and inspection by an EPA approved mechanic.

Will the owner of the vehicle be fined?

Public reports can result in advisory letters to owners requiring the vehicle to be inspected by EPA approved mechanics.  Fines are only issued when an EPA enforcement officer tests the vehicle and determines that the vehicle exhaust noise levels exceed the legal limit.

Can I report interstate registered vehicles?

NSW EPA can action reports of vehicles registered in:

  • NSW
  • ACT
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Victoria.

For Northern Territory, Tasmania or Western Australia registered vehicles, contact the relevant state agency.

How do I report other types of noise from motor vehicles?

Vehicle noise from other sources (such as alarms, loud music and idling) is handled by different agencies, depending on the specific situation.

For more information about reporting other types of noise from motor vehicles, contact Environment Line.
By phone: 131 555

Why do incidents have to be reported within 14 days?

Reporting within 14 days of observing a noisy vehicle allows the EPA to contact vehicle owners in a timely and efficient manner.

NSW legislation requires fines to be issued within a given time from an incident and the EPA applies similar criteria to advisory letters.

Can I report by fax or email?

Yes. However, reports lodged online and with Report to EPA from a mobile phone reduce the processing time, improve the accuracy of the report details and increase the effectiveness of our noisy vehicle compliance program. If you wish to submit a report by fax or email, contact Environment Line.
By phone: 131 555
By email: info@environment.nsw.gov.au
By fax: 02 9995 5911

Can I report noisy vehicles from my mobile?

Yes, you can use Report to EPA on your mobile to report noisy or smoky vehicles and littering from vehicles.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Contact Environment Line.
By phone: 131 555
By email: info@environment.nsw.gov.au

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Page last updated: 28 October 2016