Environmental factors can have a major impact upon your health, such as asbestos, noise, odour and smoke. Council can assist you to control these factors or take action to remedy identified problems.
What is a Nuisance?
Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 a nuisance is defined as 'something that is or is liable to be, dangerous to health or offensive'. Offensive can be defined as 'something noxious or injurious to personal comfort'. A nuisance can be seen as something that is annoying, however there is a difference between something that you find annoying and what can be legally classed as a 'nuisance'.
Many nuisance complaints can be easily solved by to talking to your neighbours and try to work out a solution together. You may feel anxious approaching your neighbour but remember that they are sometimes not aware that they are disturbing you.
All nuisance complaints lodged with Council for investigation are dealt with confidentially, however if the matter is serious enough you may be required to give evidence under oath before a Court if proceedings are instigated. If the concerns involve industrial sources and premises such as sewage treatment facilities, abattoirs, animal renderers, landfills and composting facilities activity you will need to lodge a complaint with Environmental Protection Authority.
Green pine logs used for garden edges and park and playground equipment may have been treated with copper chrome arsenate. These logs are safe to handle but release toxic substances when burnt.
Painted wood may contain chemicals, including lead which is very harmful to human health.
There are times when the noise you are making in your neighbourhood may be considered unreasonable to your neighbours. Talking about noise early can help make neighbours aware of the problem and be more considerate in future. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) have developed a document called annoyed by noise for tips for talking to your neighbours.
Noise from the Prescribed Items in the noise schedule must not be heard in a habitable room of another residential premises during the prohibited times for that item. The Environmental Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2018 lists prohibitited times for residential noise, when noise from their use is unreasonable, if they can be heard in a neighbour’s home.
At all times a person must not emit or cause or suffer to be emitted unreasonable noise from any residential premises. This means that you should not generate noise which could be deemed to be unreasonable to your neighbour. If the noise is ongoing and unreasonable you can make a noise complaint to Council.
Odour is any smell offensive to the human nose - the most common sources are landfill operations, food processing plants, broken sewers, abandoned garbarge and stagnant swimming pools. In most cases odour pollution does not have long term health affects but can lead to headaches, nausea and vomiting. If you notice excessive odour coming from a neighbouring property we recommend you first speak to the owner of the property and direct them to this page for information.
Smoke from wood heaters and open fire places can occasionally cause problems for neighbours. Excessive smoke continuing for longer than 30 minutes after the fire is started indicates a problem. There may be problems with the type of material being burnt or how the wood is being stored.
What not to burn:
- Never burn household rubbish, driftwood, treated wood or painted wood. It is sure to pollute the air and it can produce toxic gases.
- Green pine logs used for garden edges and park and playground equipment may have been treated with copper chrome arsenate. These logs are safe to handle but release toxic substances when burnt.
- Painted wood may contain chemicals, including lead, which is very harmful to human health.
Safe and efficient ways to use a wood heater
Council will investigate all nuisance complaints from residential properties but may view that the problem is best setttled privately and may refer you to the dispute settlement centre of Victoria.
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) is a free dispute resolution service funded by the Victorian Government.
DSCV can help you resolve common neighbourhood disputes involving fences, trees, animals, noise and drainage, disputes about difficult or anti-social behaviour etc. Guides to dispute resolution services in Victoria are also available in English and ten community languages from the website.
Please note that the DSCV website is an external website link and will take you out of Moorabool Shire Council’s site.