Report unwanted noise from licensed venues and commercial premises

Music and patron noise from licensed premises, entertainment venues, busy food and drink premises, commercial operations and industrial activities can create unwanted noise outside business hours. However, these businesses are subject to controls.

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Please note, there are some premises or land that due to the property or land ownership, fall outside our authority. It’s the responsibility of other authorities to regulate, for example state government operations. In such cases we will refer you to the relevant authority.

Further information

Entertainment noise – music and patrons

Music and patron noise from restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues, large or late trading cafes and licensed premises can sometimes reach excessive levels. Conditions of consent are technical in nature and limit the overall level of noise, its frequency characteristics and its effect on both residential and noise sensitive commercial operations.

Our standard conditions of consent for controlling noise apply to most recently approved licensed premises within the City of Sydney local area. A non-technical summary of the entertainment noise limits typically used for a relevant premises as measured at neighbouring residential locations is provided below.

  • Background noise is determined from the environmental noise levels at the affected property in the absence of any entertainment noise.
  • From 7am to midnight, entertainment noise from a premises as measured at the edge of a residential property shouldn’t exceed the background noise level by 5 decibels (dB).
  • From midnight to 7am, entertainment noise from a premises as measured at the edge of a residential property should not exceed the background noise level. Additionally, entertainment noise should not be audible within any habitable room of the residential premises.
  • Entertainment noise from a premises as measured inside a separate commercial premises shouldn’t exceed the background noise level by 3dB within an occupiable room.
  • Entertainment noise, particularly music can be tonal in nature, therefore applicable limits apply to the frequencies of noise from the premises in relation to those which characterise the background noise of an area.

Noise from commercial operations, plant and industrial activity

Typical issues associated with commercial premises include:

  • noise from different types of plant
  • forklifts/delivery vehicle noise
  • loading docks and waste handling noise (not collections)
  • commercial/process-related noise and associated business activities.

Typical issues with industrial noise will include the noise from the above operations when associated with an industrial premises. This includes activities such as manufacturing, heavy processes, dismantling and assembly, refining, servicing and repairing.

Development conditions of consent for noise also apply to most commercial operations and industrial activities within the City of Sydney local area. We apply a variety of noise conditions at the planning and development stage to reduce the risk of noise problems developing once a commercial operation has been approved.

Some premises may not have been subject to planning controls or there may be other circumstances leading to a noise nuisance. In such circumstances where we have been able to gather appropriate evidence and the noise impact has been assessed as excessive, we may be able to take action to address an environmentally unsatisfactory situation separate to a development approval.