Environment

Council’s Environmental Health Officers are responsible for a wide range of environmental protection services including assessing plumbing & development applications, water quality monitoring, fire hazards and investigation of pollution incidents.

Complaints about odours or air pollution should be directed to Council’s Environmental Health Officers on 03 6269 0000.

However, if complaints are related to major industries, then please contact the Environment Protection Authority Tasmania on  1800 005 171.

Excessive smoke from wood heaters can be a major contributor to air pollution. Smoke can be a nuisance to your neighbours and contains pollutants that are known health hazards. There are products on the market that help make wood heaters burn more efficiently and reduce the amount of pollution emitted. Having your flue swept annually will also ensure your flue is in good working order and free from build-up. Operating your wood heater correctly is the key to clean and efficient heating.

For handy tips or more information on how to achieve this visit Environment Protection Authority Tasmania’s website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/epa/improving-wood-heater-use

As of the 26 June 2019, the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Smoke) Regulations 2019 came into force. These Regulations state that, if you are wanting to burn vegetation and vegetative waste on land with an area of less than 2000 square metres then there are restrictions around the activity to minimise its effects on the environment, neighbours and the wider community.

The Regulations place two types of restriction on backyard burning:

  1. Regulation 9 makes it an offence to undertake backyard burning for any purpose on land with an area of <2,000m2;

UNLESS it is done in accordance with any relevant fire permit, environment protection notice (EPN) or Council bylaw;

AND all practicable means are taken to prevent or minimise air pollution (i.e. by having regard to weather conditions, proximity of neighbours and by only burning dry vegetation).

  1. Regulation 8 makes it an offence to burn ‘prohibited waste’ on any land, unless authorised (e.g. by an emergency authorisation under section 34 of EMPCA). Prohibited waste includes asbestos, tyres, coated wire, paint & chemical containers and residues, rubber, painted & treated wood, plastic, oil, household waste, linen, foam rubber and polystyrene.

Fines for breaching this regulation cost $840 (as at August 2019).  For these reasons Sorell Council does not recommend burning any type of waste.

The legislation does not prevent fire hazard reduction burn-off on large properties.

Please see Council’s brochure on Backyard Burning for more information on this issue.

Environmental Protection Tasmania also has an excellent FAQ factsheet on Rules for Backyard Burning that provides more information –  Click here

Instead of burning vegetation, green waste or rubbish, we urge all residents to utilise one of the following services:

  • Monthly green waste collection
  • Private waste removal contractors
  • Waste mulching and chipping contractors
  • Home composting
  • Compost bins
  • Worm farms
  • Mornington Park Waste Transfer Station

For more information on Backyard Burning please contact Council’s Environmental Health Officers.

Inspection of properties for fire hazards is undertaken throughout the Municipality before the commencement of the fire danger season. Inspections are focussed primarily in and around residential areas.

It is the responsibility of property owners to ensure their property remains fire-hazard free. Please ensure your property remains mowed and cleared to avoid the issue of an abatement notice.

Where abatement notices are issued and not complied with, a Council contractor will clear your land, the cost of which is usually much higher than a private contractor charges.

Council  Officers can fine people for littering.  Fines can range from $173 for small items such as cigarette butts or $865 for large bags of rubbish.

Litter complaints should be made to Council directly by phoning 03 6269 0000.

To report dumped rubbish on public land please use the EPA’s Report Rubbish website.

Domestic Noise can be a significant source of annoyance to members of the community.  The volume, intensity, duration and time of the day all influence the level of annoyance. People also have varying sensitivities to noise. Those with hearing problems, the aged, children and the intellectually handicapped are usually more sensitive to excessive noise.

As well as loudness of noise, tonal, impulsive or modulated characteristics can make noise more offensive.  The level of background noise in an area will influence whether domestic noise is considered to be annoying.  Obviously, noise levels during the day that cannot be heard clearly will usually be quite noticeable at a night when background noise levels are usually lower.

Noise Regulations were introduced in 2016 which were similar to previous regulations. Prohibited hours for noise sources may now be varied (made more or less stringent) by building and planning permits and environment protection notices. A person must not operate equipment or machinery on a residential property or a site where building are being constructed during the prohibited hours if the noise can be heard  in a habitable room of another house.

Noise generated from public health or safety activities or emergency situation is exempt from these regulations.

Preventing Noise Problems

Many noise problems can be prevented by reducing the noise at the source.  For example placing noise insulating material around a compressor or an air conditioning unit, regular servicing of equipment and installation that prevents vibration noise.

Consideration must be given to the location of noise emitting equipment in relation to other neighbours, for example a heat pump located directly opposite your neighbours bedroom is likely to create annoyance unless noise attenuation measures are taken.

Giving prior notice to neighbours that you are having a party and asking them to notify you if noise is excessive may help to maintain good relations with neighbours.

You may also wish to notify Tasmania Police Party Safe.

Making Complaints

Out of hours complaints that require immediate attention, such as loud parties, can be directed to the Tasmanian Police on 131 444.

All other enquiries should be referred to Council’s Environmental Health Department, during normal office hours. Formal noise complaints should be made in writing to Council.

If it becomes necessary to take legal action a complainant will need to be prepared to give evidence in court if required.

Please keep records of where, who, when and how often the noise is emitted. A noise log diary template is available here (insert link).

Security alarms must automatically turn off after 5 minutes of operation.

Prohibited hours of the day for using equipment/apparatus

Portable Apparatus

(Power tools, Compressors, Pumps, Generators and Cement Mixers etc)

Mon – Fri               before 7am and after 6pm

Saturday               before 9am and after 6pm

Sunday & Public Holiday       before 10am and after 6pm

Lawn Mowers

Mon – Fri               before 7am and after  8pm

Saturday before 9am and after  8pm

Sunday & Public Holiday before 10am and after 8pm

Chain Saws

(When within 300 metres from a house and only used for domestic garden maintenance only one day in any 7 consecutive days)

 Mon – Fri before 7am and after  8pm

Saturday before 8am and after 8pm

Sunday & Public Holiday before 10am and after 6pm

Off Road Vehicles

(Motor Bikes, Outboard motors and  recreational vehicles when more than 500 metres from a neighbouring house)

Mon – Fri before 7am and after 6pm

Saturday before 9am and after 6pm

Sunday & Public Holiday before 10am and after 6pm

Mobile Machinery

(Forklift trucks, industrial motor vehicles)

Mon – Fri               before 7am and after 6pm

Saturday               before 8am and after 6pm

Sunday & Public Holiday       before 10am and after 6pm

Musical Instruments and Sound Amplifying Equipment

(Must not create an Environmental Nuisance)

Mon – Thurs before 7am and after 10pm

Friday before 7am and after Midnight

Saturday before 9am and after Midnight

Sunday & Public Holiday before 10am and after 10pm

Fixed Equipment

From 7am to 10pm max 45 dB (A)

From 10pm to 7am max 40 dB (A)

Fixed equipment includes domestic heating equipment, for hot water, air conditioners, evaporative coolers, pumps, generators or wind turbines, that are fixed at the location where used.

Note: Playing amplified music may also be an Environmental Nuisance depending on the volume, duration, intensity and the time of the day that the music is played. Generally speaking the louder the music and the longer the duration the more likely it will be considered an Environmental Nuisance. For further information please refer to https://epa.tas.gov.au/environment/noise/noise-management

Level one and Level two activities

Some industries/activities have particular environmental impacts such as sewage treatment plants, abattoirs, landfill sites, fish processors, etc. Depending on the size and type of business, the activity may be regulated by EPA Tasmania or Council. Typically, the larger activities are controlled by the EPA.

https://epa.tas.gov.au/environment

Land contamination

Some previous activities conducted on a property  (https://epa.tas.gov.au/environment/land/identification-and-assessment-of-contaminated-land/potentially-contaminating-activities-industries-and-land-uses) may have contaminated the land. If you are planning to change the use of a property to a more sensitive use or re-zone to allow more sensitive uses, an assessment by a suitability qualified person may be required when you apply for a planning permit.

https://epa.tas.gov.au/environment/land/identification-and-assessment-of-contaminated-land

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