Pollution

Overview

People picking up rubbish  

Everyone has a general environmental duty to take reasonable steps to prevent or minimise adverse effects on the environment and people’s enjoyment of the environment, caused, or likely to be caused, by their activities. 

Various agencies, including councils and the EPA Tasmania, share responsibility for the control of pollution in Tasmania. 

The EPA lists a variety of Common Pollution Incidents & Complaints with details of which agency to contact with your concerns.

Wood smoke and backyard burning

The Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Distributed Atmospheric Emissions) Regulations 2007 are used to regulate the emission of smoke from wood heaters, fireplaces, cooking appliances and backyard burning in Tasmania. It is an offence to contravene these Regulations and penalties apply.

Wood heater smoke

The emission of wood smoke pollutes the air and can easily become a nuisance to neighbours.

You can help keep Launceston's air clean by correctly operating your wood heater.

View this step-by-step guide for tips on improving wood heater use to reduce smoke from your chimney.

Reporting a wood smoke issue

Often your neighbours will not realise their smoke is affecting you. It is best to discuss the problem with them and try to find a solution.

If you cannot reach an agreement after talking to your neighbour, you can contact us for advice.

You will need to provide your name, address and contact information as well as details about the address of the alleged offender and the nature of the smoke nuisance.

Wastes or Fuels burnt in the open or in incinerators

Backyard burning and the use of incinerators on land with an area less than 2000 square metres is prohibited unless it is for the purpose of reducing a potential fire hazard or in accordance with a permit issued under the Fire Service Act 1979.

Most residential house lots are between 600m2 and 1,200m2 so this restriction affects the majority of households in the City of Launceston. 

Burning of unpainted, untreated and uncontaminated wood; vegetative waste; vegetation; paper; charcoal or; peat is permitted on properties greater than 2000 square metres. However, smoke from such burning off may become an environmental nuisance for which penalties apply. To avoid causing smoke pollution and a nuisance to neighbours, removal of the waste to the Launceston Waste Centre or one of our waste transfer stations is recommended.

Where burning off is permitted, the requirements of the Tasmania Fire Service must also be followed.

Reporting a backyard burning issue

If you are concerned about the emission of smoke from the yard of a neighbouring property it is best to discuss the problem with your neighbour and try to find a solution. Your neighbour may not be aware that their fire is affecting you or that they are not permitted to burn off if on a property that is less than 2000 square metres.

If you cannot reach an agreement after speaking with your neighbour, you can contact us for advice.

You will need to provide your name, address and contact information as well as details about the address of the alleged offender and the nature of the smoke nuisance.

In an emergency, please contact the Tasmania Fire Service on Triple Zero (000).

Residential Noise Pollution

The Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Noise) Regulations 2016 are used to regulate the emission of noise in Tasmania. It is an offence to contravene these guidelines and penalties apply. 

As a general rule, noise-making equipment and activities must not unreasonably interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment of their environment.

Common noise concerns include loud music, poorly located air conditioners, power tools, gardening equipment and people talking loudly outdoors at a late night party. 

Prohibited hours of use have been established for the use of common noise-making equipment on residential premises and construction and demolition sites to help protect the community from noise nuisance. 

Equipment

Prohibited Days and Hours of Use

Chainsaw powered by internal combustion engine operated within 300 metres of residential premises (may be used for domestic garden maintenance on only one day in any consecutive 7 days)

Monday to Friday: Before 7am and after 6pm

Saturday: Before 9am and after 6pm

Sunday or public holiday: Before 10am and after 6pm

Mobile machinery, forklift truck or portable equipment

Monday to Friday: Before 7am and after 6pm

Saturday: Before 8am and after 6pm

Sunday or public holiday: Before 10am and after 6pm

Motor vehicle, motor vessel or outboard motor (unless the vehicle, vessel or motor is being operated to move into or out of residential premises or construction or demolition site)

Monday to Friday: Before 7am and after 6pm

Saturday: Before 9am and after 6pm

Sunday or public holiday: Before 10am and after 6pm

Musical instrument or sound-amplifying equipment

Monday to Thursday: Before 7am and after 10pm

Friday: Before 7am and after midnight

Saturday: Before 9am and after midnight

Sunday or public holiday: Before 10am and after 10pm

Power lawn mower and other garden maintenance equipment powered by an engine

Monday to Friday: Before 7am and after 8pm

Saturday: Before 9am and after 8pm

Sunday or public holiday: Before 10am and after 8pm

 

Noise made at any time, including outside of prohibited hours of use, and noise from equipment not listed in the Noise Regulations, can still be deemed unreasonable and constitute an environmental nuisance under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.

People are often more tolerant of noise emissions if they know in advance when the noise will start and finish and who they can speak to if it causes a problem. Let your neighbours know if you are planning a noisy party or renovations. Being considerate and respectful to your neighbours can help avoid conflict about noise. 

Reporting a noise issue

Often your neighbours will not realise their noise is affecting you. It is best to discuss the problem with them and try to find a solution.

If you cannot reach an agreement after talking to your neighbour, you can contact us for advice.

You will need to provide your name, address and contact information as well as details about the address of the alleged offender and the nature of the noise. You may also be asked to complete a noise diary.

Noise from loud music, human behaviour and parties that occur outside of Council business hours should be directed to the Tasmania Police on 131 444.

Full details are available on residential noise pollution are available here(PDF, 61KB)

For further information please contact us

Litter

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The City of Launceston wants to keep our municipality litter free for your enjoyment and the good of the environment.

Here are a few things you can do to prevent littering:

- Use bags or some newspaper to collect your dog's droppings
- If you smoke, carry a portable ashtray
- If you see an overflowing City of Launceston bin, contact our Customer Service Centre
- Don't overfill your wheelie bin
- Keep a small rubbish bag in your vehicle
- If you see litter, pick it up and put it in the nearest bin

Penalties for littering and dumping

A number of City of Launceston Officers are Authorised under the Litter Act 2007 to issue fines for littering. The Act also allows for officers to enter properties and take photos and obtain documents if necessary.

The charge for dumping a single piece of garbage is $157.00.

Council Officers pursue offenders for dumping small items such as cigarette butts as well as dumping house hold waste and larger items like television sets.

If you witness anyone dumping garbage please contact us or report the incident by visiting the Environmental Protection Authority's website.

Abandoned Vehicles

Abandoned Vehicles are managed as follows:

  • The City of Launceston will investigate to ensure the vehicle is actually abandoned - that is not owned or registered to anyone
  • If the vehicle is parked on a public street, public area or an area managed by Council we are authorised to investigate
  • We issue a 48 hour notice for the vehicle to be moved prior to towing
  • Council liaise with Tasmania Police to ensure the vehicle is not stolen or part of an investigation prior to towing
  • Council staff have the discretion to crush the vehicle on collection should it be deemed un-roadworthy/beyond repair, burnt out or otherwise not suitable to be stored
  • If your car is towed you will be required to produce identification as well as proof of ownership. Fees apply when reclaiming your vehicle
  • A one month time restriction applies to impounded vehicles.

Please note just because a vehicle is parked for a long period of time or not frequently used does not mean that it is abandoned.