Farming activities can cause conflict between residential properties, rural landholders and local communities. Common complaints include noise generated by tractors and their implements, frost fans and gas guns.
The NSW Government Department of Primary Industries has a Right to Farm Policy which supports primary producers in their right to farm to the extent of what is lawful, and in compliance with relevant legislation.
We recognise that farming activities have the potential to impact on neighbours, however many of the activities cannot be avoided.
The following suggestions are offered for consideration by both landholders and residents:
- Maintain good communication with neighbours.
- Consider if a proposed activity is likely to generate noise impacts to neighbours (e.g. frost fans, gas guns, night spraying) and discuss with your neighbours.
- When operating agricultural equipment, consider location of nearby dwellings and adjust operations in an effort to reduce noise impacts.
If you are a resident impacted by agricultural noise, we recommend taking the steps below to resolve the matter.
The person may not be aware that their activity is affecting you or others in the area.
In most cases the person will be happy to work with you to reduce the noise.
This approach helps to maintain good relations with neighbours.
If you feel the person is unapproachable or you are uncomfortable doing so, a friendly letter in the letterbox may help.
If the noise persists and your neighbour is unwilling to discuss the matter then you should contact the Community Justice Centre.
The Community Justice Centre is a government funded independent organisation that specialises in settling differences between neighbours without entering into complicated legal processes and has a high success rate. The CJC can be contacted on 1800 990 777.
If mediation has failed to resolve the matter and your neighbour continues making the noise, you can take action in the Local Courts and apply for a Noise Abatement Order.
If the court is satisfied that the neighbour is causing an offensive noise or that the noise is likely to recur (keep happening), it may order them to stop the noise or prevent a recurrence. This order can last indefinitely.
If other options have failed, you can lodge a complaint with City of Coffs Harbour by phone, email or in person (see our contact details on this page).
Neighbour to neighbour complaints are assessed against the following criteria:
- is there a public health risk; and
- is the noise impacting on the broader public or can it be resolved privately
We will determine if the complaint requires further investigation. We can also provide information to the person making the noise.
Matters that can be resolved through the CJC, local court or police will generally not be investigated.