Over the 2017–18 and 2018–19 periods, the EPA received 5,562 environmental complaints. Concerns about noise were responsible for 80% of all complaints and is clearly a significant issue for the ACT community. Amplified noise was the source of most noise complaints. Air pollution received the second highest number of complaints (13%), with smoke the source of most complaints. With only 2 years of data available, it is not possible to assess trends over the reporting period.
- ? Poor
- ? Unknown
- ? Good
Indicator assessment legend
Environmental condition is healthy across the ACT, OR pressure likely to have negligible impact on environmental condition/human health.
Environmental condition is neither positive or negative and may be variable across the ACT, OR pressure likely to have limited impact on environmental condition/human health.
Environmental condition is under significant stress, OR pressure likely to have significant impact on environmental condition/ human health.
Data is insufficient to make an assessment of status and trends.
Adequate high-quality evidence and high level of consensus
Limited evidence or limited consensus
Evidence and consensus too low to make an assessment
Assessments of status, trends and data quality are not appropriate for the indicator
Impacts on amenity such as increased noise, smoke, odour, dust and other pollution can affect health and wellbeing. Noise is the second most common form of pollution experienced by the community, after air pollution, and is increasing with growth in population, urbanisation and traffic. The Environment Protection Authority is responsible for investigating noise, odour, smoke, dust, light and other pollution complaints, and for enforcing compliance with guidelines in the ACT. As the number of complaints increase, so does the burden on compliance and enforcement resources.
Noise can significantly impact on quality of life, community health and can reduce economic performance. Noise can cause disturbance to sleep, interfere with reading and relaxing, and can be a barrier to spending time outdoors. Health impacts from chronic or acute noise include sleep deprivation, contribution to heart disease, impaired learning, hypertension, raised blood pressure, and stress.
Condition and trends
Identification of impacts on amenity come from community complaints received by the ACT government. The number of complaints are dependent on a range of factors such as the sensitivity of community members to particular issues, and the number of complaints made about each individual event. Consequently it is difficult to assess trends in amenity. Despite this, complaints data does provide information on everyday environment impacts concerning the ACT community.
Complaints data is only available for the 2017–18 and 2018–19 period. Data for these years have been combined to determine the problems impacting on the community.
Over the two years a total of 5,562 complaints were received by the EPA regarding environmental conditions. Noise was responsible for 80% of complaints (4,459), with air pollution responsible for 13% (Figure A7). Noise is clearly a significant concern in the ACT. Although air pollution is the second most common complaint, the EPA only received 727 complaints, significantly fewer than for noise.
Noise complaints were dominated by amplified noise (mostly loud music) which accounted for 53% (2,364) of the total noise complaints over this two-year reporting period. Construction noise accounted for 20% of the total noise complaints.
Air pollution complaints were dominated by smoke (wood heaters and controlled burns) which accounted for 55% (403) of the total air pollution complaints over 2017–18 and 2018–19. Odour accounted for 22%, and dust 18%.