Environmental pollution
  • Last updated:
  • 19 Apr 2021

Lighting and glare nuisances are regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and council has jurisdiction to investigate complaints.

What is the law?

In deciding if a light or glare nuisance exists, council considers the general emission criteria and AS/NZ 4282:2019 Control of the obtrusive effects of outdoor lighting. Some of the criteria that forms part of the investigation include:

  • the lux from the light when measured inside a habitable room of the complainants dwelling
  • the emissions characteristics, qualities, amount and rate
  • the duration and time of the emission
  • whether the emission is continuous or fluctuating
  • the nature and impact on the receiving environment
  • degree of interference caused by the emission
  • order of occupancy
  • structural or changes to activities carried out at either place
  • any mitigating measures undertaken by the person causing the emission.

What happens if there is a breach of the law?

Where it is determined there has been a breach of the Act, council has a number of enforcement options available where regulatory powers are devolved. The individual breach is assessed against council's enforcement framework and depending on individual circumstances it could result in one of the following outcomes:

  • issuing a warning
  • issuing a direction notice
  • issuing an infringement notice (on-the-spot fine)
  • prosecution.

A direction notice specifies the limits that must be adhered to by a certain date. The actual control measures (e.g. a barrier, replacing or relocating equipment) are determined by the person causing the nuisance. Where a direction notice has been issued the light can continue to be used up until the compliance due date. Once this date passes it must operate within the limits.

Exemptions

The Act lists some exemptions, including if you have a limit specified within a development approval. If you have a condition specified in a development approval you will need to comply with it.

How to lodge a complaint

Council recommends that prior to lodging a complaint that you take steps to try and resolve the issue with the person causing the light or glare nuisance. This could be by writing to or speaking with the person causing the light or glare.

If you are unable to resolve the matter directly you will need to contact council to lodge a complaint. As part of the complaints process you will be asked to complete a nuisance diary and council will write to the person causing the light or glare asking them to try to resolve the matter.

Council will advise you how long to keep the diary, this is usually 21 days. If at the end of the diary period the light or glare is still causing a nuisance, council will need to attend your property to determine if the light or glare is causing an environmental nuisance.

Contact council to lodge a complaint and request a nuisance diary.

Dust nuisances are regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and council has jurisdiction to investigate complaints.

What is the law?

In deciding if a dust nuisance exists, council considers the general emission criteria and applicable industry codes of practice. Some of the criteria that forms part of the investigation includes:

  • the emissions characteristics, qualities, amount and rate
  • the duration and time of the emission
  • whether the emission is continuous or fluctuating
  • the nature and impact on the receiving environment
  • degree of interference caused by the emission
  • order of occupancy
  • structural or changes to activities carried out at either place
  • any mitigating measures undertaken by the person causing the emission.

What happens if there is a breach of the law?

Where it is determined there has been a breach of the Act, council has a number of enforcement options available where regulatory powers are devolved. The individual breach is assessed against council's enforcement framework and depending on individual circumstances it could result in one of the following outcomes:

  • issuing a warning
  • issuing a direction notice
  • issuing an infringement notice (on-the-spot fine)
  • prosecution.

A direction notice specifies the limits that must be adhered to by a certain date. The actual control measures (e.g. a barrier, operational changes or suppressants) are determined by the person causing the nuisance. 

Exemptions

The Act lists some exemptions, including if you have a limit specified within a development approval. If you have a condition specified in a development approval you will need to comply with it.

How to lodge a complaint

Council recommends that prior to lodging a complaint that you take steps to try and resolve the issue with the person causing the dust nuisance. This could be by writing to or speaking with the person causing the issue.

If you are unable to resolve the matter directly you will need to contact council to lodge a complaint. As part of the complaints process you will be asked to complete a nuisance diary and council will write to the person causing the dust asking them to try to resolve the matter.

If after a set period of time decided by council (usually 21 days) the dust is causing a nuisance, council will need to attend your property to determine if the dust is an environmental nuisance.

Contact council to lodge a complaint and request a nuisance diary.

Odour nuisances are regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and council has jurisdiction to investigate complaints.

What is the law?

In deciding if an odour nuisance exists, council considers the general emission criteria. Some of the criteria that forms part of the investigation include:

  • the emissions characteristics, qualities, amount and rate
  • the duration and time of the emission
  • whether the emission is continuous or fluctuating
  • the nature and impact on the receiving environment
  • degree of interference caused by the emission
  • order of occupancy
  • structural or changes to activities carried out at either place
  • any mitigating measures undertaken by the person causing the emission.

What happens if there is a breach of the law?

Where it is determined there has been a breach of the Act, council has a number of enforcement options available where regulatory powers are devolved. The individual breach is assessed against council's enforcement framework and depending on individual circumstances it could result in one of the following outcomes:

  • issuing a warning
  • issuing a direction notice
  • issuing an infringement notice (on-the-spot fine)
  • prosecution.

A direction notice specifies the limits that must be adhered to by a certain date, the actual control methods (e.g. changing equipment or operational changes) are determined by the person causing the nuisance.

Exemptions

The Act lists some exemptions, including if you have a limit specified within a development approval. If you have a condition specified in a development approval you will need to comply with it.

How to lodge a complaint

Council recommends that prior to lodging a complaint that you take steps to try to resolve the issue with the person causing the odour nuisance. This could be by writing to or speaking with the person causing the issue.

If you are unable to resolve the matter directly you need to contact council to lodge a complaint. As part of the complaints process you will be asked to complete a nuisance diary and council will write to the person causing the odour asking them to resolve the matter.

Council will advise you how long to keep the diary, this is usually 21 days. If at the end of the diary period the odour is still causing a nuisance, council will need to attend your property to determine if the odour is an environmental nuisance. 

Contact council to lodge a complaint and to request a nuisance diary.

Spray drift nuisances including paint or chemical overspray are regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and council has jurisdiction to investigate complaints.

What is the law?

In deciding if a spray drift nuisance exists, council considers the general emission criteria and applicable industry codes of practice. Some of the criteria that forms part of the investigation include:

  • the emissions characteristics, qualities, amount and rate
  • the duration and time of the emission
  • whether the emission is continuous or fluctuating 
  • the nature and impact on receiving environment
  • degree of interference caused by the emission
  • order of occupancy
  • structural or changes to activities carried out at either place
  • any mitigating measures undertaken by the person causing the emission.

What if spray drift has damaged my property?

Council has jurisdiction to investigate environmental nuisances, however if spray drift has caused damage to your house, car or other property this is a civil matter. Council cannot direct a person to repair or compensate you for damage caused to your property.

What happens if there is a breach of the law?

Where it is determined there has been a breach of the Act, council has a number of enforcement options available where regulator powers are devolved. The individual breach is assessed against council's enforcement framework and depending on individual circumstances it could result in one of the following outcomes:

  • issuing a warning
  • issuing a direction notice
  • issuing an infringement notice (on-the-spot fine)
  • prosecution.

Exemptions

The Act lists some exemptions, including if you have a limit specified within a development approval. If you have a condition specified in a development approval you will need to comply with it.

Council does not regulate all types of spray drift. Prior to lodging a complaint you should check the issue is regulated by council. To find out who the regulatory authority is, check the Queensland Government website.

How to lodge a complaint

Council recommends that prior to lodging a complaint that you take steps to try and resolve the issue with the person causing the spray drift. This could be by writing to or speaking with the person causing the issue. 

If you are unable to resolve the matter directly you will need to contact council to lodge a complaint. As part of the complaints process you will be asked to complete a nuisance diary and council will write to the person causing the spray drift asking them to resolve the matter.

Council will advise you how long to keep the diary, this is usually 21 days. If at the end of the diary period the spray drift is still causing a nuisance, council will need to attend your property to determine if the spray drift is an environmental nuisance.

Contact council to lodge a complaint and request a nuisance diary.  

Smoke nuisances are regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and council has jurisdiction to investigate complaints. When you are using a wood heater or burning off vegetation you will need to make sure you are not causing a smoke nuisance.

This information is about smoke nuisances. For information about prohibited fires in urban areas refer to prohibited fires under council's local law.

What is the law?

In deciding if a smoke nuisance exists, council considers the general emission criteria. Some of the criteria that forms part of the investigation include:

  • the emissions characteristics, qualities, amount and rate
  • the duration and time of the emission
  • whether the emission is continuous or fluctuating
  • the nature and impact on the receiving environment
  • degree of interference caused by the emission
  • order of occupancy
  • structural or changes to activities carried out at either place
  • any mitigating measures undertaken by the person causing the emission.

What happens if there is a breach of the law?

Where it is determined there has been a breach of the Act, council has a number of enforcement option available where regulatory powers are devolved. The individual breach is assessed against council's enforcement framework and depending on individual circumstances it could result in one of the following outcomes:

  • issuing a warning
  • issuing a direction notice
  • issuing an infringement notice (on-the-spot fine)
  • prosecution.

A direction notice specifies the limits that must be adhered to by a certain date. The actual control measures (e.g. replacing, relocating or servicing equipment) are determined by the person causing the nuisance. Where a direction notice has been issued the source of the nuisance can continue to be used up until the compliance due date. Once this date passes it must operate within the limits.

How to lodge a complaint

Council recommends that prior to lodging a complaint that you take steps to try and resolve the issue with the person causing the smoke nuisance. This could be by writing to or speaking with the person causing the issue.

If you are unable to resolve the matter directly you will need to contact council to lodge a complaint. As part of the complaints process you will be asked to complete a nuisance diary and council will write to the person causing the smoke asking them to try to resolve the matter.

Council will advise you how long to keep the diary, this is usually 21 days. If at the end of the diary period, the smoke is still causing a nuisance, council will need to attend your property to determine if the smoke is causing an environmental nuisance.

Contact council to lodge a complaint and request a nuisance diary.

Release of contaminants to stormwater is regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, and council has jurisdiction to investigate complaints. Waterways can be impacted by runoff and pollution from rural and urban areas.

What is the law?

A person must not deposit a prescribed contaminant in a waterway, some examples of pollutants that are prescribed contaminants include:

  • sediment from building sites
  • dirt, grass or vegetation
  • oxides and paint from roof washing
  • water from cleaning concrete mixers or laying an exposed aggregate driveway
  • oil from vehicles
  • litter
  • paint and chemicals
  • sewage.

What happens if there is a breach of the law?

Where it is determined there has been a breach of the Act, council has a number of enforcement options available where regulatory powers are devolved. The individual breach is assessed against council's enforcement framework and depending on individual circumstances it could result in one of the following outcomes:

  • issuing a warning
  • issuing a direction notice
  • issuing an infringement notice (on-the-spot fine)
  • prosecution.

How to lodge a complaint

If you have witnessed a person releasing contaminants to stormwater you should contact council as soon as possible. Council officers can attend during and after business hours and direct the person to stop the release of the contaminant.

Contact council to lodge a complaint.