Noise abatement program

Roads and Maritime Services views road traffic noise as an important environmental issue and addresses road traffic noise through a range of approaches.

Our approaches

Our approaches include:

  • Ensuring that Australia's noise limits for new vehicles meet the latest European standards by working with the National Transport Commission and other States to produce Australian Design Rules for vehicle noise
  • Conducting assessments of road traffic noise for road projects and applying all feasible and reasonable noise mitigation measures to avoid or minimise noise, where noise exceeds criteria in the NSW Road Noise Policy
  • Administering the Noise Abatement Program to provide noise mitigation to locations where road traffic noise is high and no road development is taking place
  • Developing innovative approaches such as noise camera technology to identify heavy vehicle engine compression brakes that emit high levels of noise.

The Noise Abatement Program is aimed at providing noise mitigation treatment for dwellings and noise sensitive land-uses such as schools, hospitals and churches that are exposed to high levels of road traffic noise. Access to the Noise Abatement Program is subject to certain eligibility criteria.

No noise reduction treatments will be considered unless at least one eligible application has been received for a location.

The eligibility criteria for the Noise Abatement Program are listed below and covered in more detail in the Noise Abatement Program application form and frequently asked questions. All of the eligibility criteria must be met before a property can be placed on a waiting list for noise mitigation treatment:

  • The property is classified as a "sensitive receiver" - such as a residence, school, church or hospital.
  • The property is impacted by noise from an existing State or Federal road and the road is not due to be subject to any upgrading works within a reasonably foreseeable time frame (eg 1-2 years).
  • External noise levels are at least 65 decibels during the day or 60 decibels during the night at the property. (The daytime noise level is the average noise level between 7am and 10pm, and the night-time noise level is the average noise level between 10pm and 7am).
  • If residential, the property is no higher than two habitable levels, above at most one non-habitable level (ie garage/laundry).
  • Treatment of the property is deemed cost-effective, equitable and practical.
  • Building development was approved before January 1, 2009.

Noise abatement treatment must be assessed as being feasible and reasonable using the process described in RMS' Environmental Noise Management Manual Practice Note IV.

Where residents with less than 7 years residency are offered architectural acoustic treatment to their property it is on a cost sharing basis. For example where length of residency is 1-2 years an 85 per cent contribution is sought from the resident, for 4-5 years residency the contribution is 35 per cent.  For a residency of 7 years or more there is no contribution required for noise reduction treatment. 

Noise abatement treatments include noise barriers, noise mounds and architectural acoustic treatments. Noise mitigation measures will only be installed where they are expected to offer a noticeable reduction in the level of road traffic noise. For example a reduction of 10 decibels can be equated to a halving in loudness while a reduction of 2-3 decibels may not easily be heard.

Noise abatement for new developments in locations already exposed to road traffic noise is primarily the responsibility of the relevant developers. The State Environmental Planning Policy (infrastructure) 2007 at clause 102 sets out requirements for inclusion of noise mitigation measures in the design of new noise sensitive developments on land in or adjacent to the road corridor for a freeway, a tollway or a transitway or any other road with an annual average daily traffic volume of more than 40,000 vehicles.

Noise reduction treatment under the Noise Abatement Program is offered based on the date of application to the Noise Abatement Program.

For those who have been offered treatment under the program, read the frequently asked questions for further information on architectural treatments.

Applying for treatment

Residents who believe they are adversely affected by road traffic noise can complete the Noise Abatement Program application form.

Alternatively, residents can call us on 131 782 and ask to apply for the Noise Abatement Program, or email

An application form and a further explanation of the program will be sent out. The application form enables residents to provide contact information and details regarding the noise issue at their residence. RMS will use this information to begin its investigation into whether treatment under the Noise Abatement Program is appropriate.

Overview of process

The steps below indicate the stages of a successful application to the Noise Abatement Program:

  1. Completed Noise Abatement Program application form returned to Roads and Maritime Services. Date of application recorded by us.
  2. Application form assessed against eligibility criteria and preliminary road traffic noise level checked by Roads and Maritime
  3. Preliminary check indicates eligible noise levels. An acoustic consultant is retained by Roads and Maritime to undertake noise monitoring.
  4. Noise monitoring confirms eligible noise levels. The location is registered as eligible under the Noise Abatement Program and assessed for feasibility of noise mitigation treatment.
  5. Roads and Maritime annual program of works for treatment under the Noise Abatement Program determined considering available funding and application date.
  6. If architectural treatment is proposed, our specialist building consultant discusses the scope of works with resident and obtains agreement.
  7. The Deed of Release (1) is provided to resident for signing and returned to Roads and Maritime to allow a builder to enter property to install noise mitigation and to certify that no additional work will be provided by Roads and Maritime.
  8. After Roads and Maritime receives signed Deed of Release, the builder is commissioned by Roads and Maritime to undertake works.
  9. Works are inspected by our specialist building consultant to confirm that they comply with Building Code of Australia criteria.

(1) The Deed of Release will be provided by Roads and Maritime Services at this stage. If you would like to see a copy of a Deed of Release prior to this for your information, please contact us.

Frequently asked questions

  • The Noise Abatement Program addresses existing traffic noise impacts from State and Federal roads in NSW. The Noise Abatement Program is funded by the NSW Government and is delivered by Roads and Maritime Services.
  • The Noise Abatement Program provides noise mitigation treatment for homes and places such as schools, hospitals and churches where there is very high traffic noise.
  • Treatment is offered where:

    • An application for treatment has been accepted and has reached the top of the treatment list, or
    • A residence is located nearby to another residence that has reached the top of the treatment list. Roads and Maritime Services makes an offer of treatment to nearby residences because it is more efficient and equitable to treat a group of noise affected residences than a single location within that group.
  • The treatments are architectural acoustic treatments which aim to improve the sound-resistance of properties. This can include treating windows and doors which face onto the noisy road, sealing gaps and providing mechanical ventilation.
  • Considerations include: Constructability, safety, maintenance, extent of noise benefit, cost and preference of the occupant.
  • No. Acoustic treatment is done in consultation with you and can match the look and style of your residence.
  • Whilst each home is different, the treatment usually takes a few days to complete.
  • Treatment is free to the property owner if they have owned their home for 7 years or more. If you have been living in your home less than 7 years you will need to pay a contribution towards the cost as per below:

    Length of ownership - Cost of contribution by owner

    • 1 year - 85%
    • 2 years - 70%
    • 3 years - 55%
    • 4 years - 35%
    • 5 years - 20%
    • 6 years - 10%
    • 7 years or more 0%
  • The value of treatment under the Noise Abatement Program is limited to no more than $30,000 for any one property.
  • The contractor who does the work provides a 7 year warranty on workmanship and 5 year warranty on parts and labour.
  • The property owner will receive a letter from Roads and Maritime offering acoustic treatment. To take up the offer, simply contact the acoustic consultants listed in the letter to make an appointment to see them to discuss recommendations on treatment.
  • Contact us on 8849 2516 or 131 782.


Noise Abatement Program application form

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