Port Botany noise

The EPA's response to noise complaints from the community living in the Port Botany area.

The noise environment in the Port Botany area is complex. The EPA has been working with stakeholders, including NSW Ports, the Port Authority of NSW, Randwick and Bayside Councils, local industry and the Department of Planning and Environment, to investigate potential noise sources in Port Botany area in response to local noise complaints.

To better understand noise in the local area NSW Ports commissioned noise monitoring activities in 2020. The monitoring activities identified that the main source of low frequency noise in the area was ships berthed at Port Botany, with other low frequency noise sources contributing. Low frequency noise is often described by people as a ‘throbbing’ or ‘humming’ sound and can become more noticeable during the evening and at night. A copy of the NSW Ports report can be found at https://www.nswports.com.au/outcome-noise-investigation-port-botany.

In early 2021, we commissioned Marshall Day Acoustics to undertake a noise monitoring program in the Port Botany precinct. The noise study was designed to identify noise sources that emit low frequency noise mainly in and around the Botany industrial and transport areas (the Port). This noise study included long and short-term noise measurements at six locations in the area surrounding the Port.

Outcomes from this study confirmed that activities at the Port, particularly from ship exhausts, were the primary sources of low frequency noise in the Port Botany area.

NSW Ports is working with shipping operators to understand what weather conditions and shipping configurations result in noise impacts on the local community and actively seeking to reduce noise impacts. NSW Ports has advised that this approach has resulted in a reduction of noise from a number of ships.

Recent noise complaints

From mid-2022 onwards, both the EPA and NSW Ports have received noise complaints that are more likely to be generated by non-vessel noise sources. These noises are described as banging, crashing, beeping and alarms. These noises contain higher frequencies, sometimes have a noticeable pitch, and are quite distinct from the thudding, throbbing sound of low frequency noise. They are likely to be generated from a range of industry in the Port area. Some of the industrial sites in the area are regulated by the EPA under environment protection licences and some are regulated by Randwick City Council and Bayside Council in their local government areas. The EPA and local councils respond to noise complaints for premises they regulate. NSW Ports is also working with its tenants to identify and reduce noise impacts from non-ship sources.

We are considering these findings and appropriate next steps. For a copy of the report contact info@epa.nsw.gov.au

We will continue to provide updates to the community through our website.

Low frequency noise from vessels berthed at Port Botany can be reported to NSW Ports on 1300 922 524, at www.nswports.com.au.

General noise from industry can be reported to the EPA on 131 555 or info@epa.nsw.gov.au or to your local council.

Page last updated