Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) views road traffic noise as an important environmental issue and addresses road traffic noise through a range of approaches including:
- Ensuring that Australia’s noise limits for new vehicles meet the latest European standards by working with the National Transport Commission and other States to produce Australian Design Rules for vehicle noise.
- Conducting assessments of road traffic noise for road projects and applying all feasible and reasonable noise mitigation measures to avoid or minimise noise, where noise exceeds criteria in the NSW Road Noise Policy.
- Administering the Noise Abatement Program to provide noise mitigation to locations where road traffic noise is high and no road development is taking place.
- Developing innovative approaches such as noise camera technology to identify heavy vehicle engine compression brakes that emit high levels of noise.
The Noise Abatement Program is aimed at providing noise mitigation treatment for dwellings and noise sensitive land-uses such as schools, hospitals and churches that are exposed to high levels of road traffic noise. Access to the Noise Abatement Program is subject to certain eligibility criteria.
No noise reduction treatments will be considered unless at least one eligible application has been received for a location.
The eligibility criteria for the Noise Abatement Program are listed below and covered in more detail in the Fact Sheet. All of the eligibility criteria must be met before a property can be placed on a waiting list for noise mitigation treatment:
- The property is classified as a “sensitive receiver” - such as a residence, school, church or hospital.
- The property is impacted by noise from an existing State or Federal road and the road is not due to be subject to any upgrading works within a reasonably foreseeable time frame (eg 1-2 years).
- External noise levels are at least 65 decibels during the day or 60 decibels during the night at the property. (The daytime noise level is the average noise level between 7am and 10pm, and the night-time noise level is the average noise level between 10pm and 7am).
- If residential, the property is no higher than two habitable levels, above at most one non-habitable level (ie garage/laundry).
- Treatment of the property is deemed cost-effective, equitable and practical.
- Building development was approved before January 1, 2009.
Noise abatement treatment must be assessed as being feasible and reasonable using the process described in RMS’ Environmental Noise Management Manual Practice Note IV.
Where residents with less than 7 years residency are offered architectural acoustic treatment to their property it is on a cost sharing basis. For example where length of residency is 1-2 years an 85 per cent contribution is sought from the resident, for 4-5 years residency the contribution is 35 per cent. For a residency of 7 years or more there is no contribution required for noise reduction treatment.
Noise abatement treatments include noise barriers, noise mounds and architectural acoustic treatments. Noise mitigation measures will only be installed where they are expected to offer a noticeable reduction in the level of road traffic noise. For example a reduction of 10 decibels can be equated to a halving in loudness while a reduction of 2-3 decibels may not easily be heard.
Noise abatement for new developments in locations already exposed to road traffic noise is primarily the responsibility of the relevant developers. The State Environmental Planning Policy (infrastructure) 2007 at clause 102 sets out requirements for inclusion of noise mitigation measures in the design of new noise sensitive developments on land in or adjacent to the road corridor for a freeway, a tollways or a transit-way or any other road with an annual average daily traffic volume of more than 40,000 vehicles.
Noise reduction treatment under the Noise Abatement Program is offered based on the date of application to the Noise Abatement Program.
For those who have been offered treatment under the NAP, read the Questions and Answers sheet (PDF, 63KB) for further information on the NAP program architectural treatments.
Applying for Treatment under the Noise Abatement Program
Residents who believe they are adversely affected by road traffic noise can print an Application Form. Alternatively, residents can call RMS on 131 782 and ask to apply for the Noise Abatement Program. An application form and a further explanation of the program will be sent out. The application form enables residents to provide contact information and details regarding the noise issue at their residence. RMS will use this information to begin its investigation into whether treatment under the Noise Abatement Program is appropriate.
Noise Abatement Program (NAP) Process Overview - indicates the stages of a successful application to the NAP.
1 A copy will be provided by RMS at this stage. If you would like to see a copy of a Deed of Release document prior to this, for information, please contact your Regional RMS office.