Noise levels and noise complaints in the rural area

 
Noise levels in the rural zones

Number and types of noise complaints in the rural area
 

Purpose of indicator

The rural environment is largely a primary production working environment with noisy activities including trucks, farm machinery, animals, and sometimes factories. Key activities include agricultural production and forestry. These activities can sometimes impact on each other, but more commonly they impact on rural residents. Monitoring noise levels and complaints in rural areas gives an indication of noise trends, types of activities causing complaints, and their location and frequency.

 

Current information and trend

Noise monitoring of rural zones shows there has been a marked decrease in noise levels, especially during the evening and night times as shown in table 2 and figures 1 and 2. This may be explained by seasonal variation as 2011 sampling was done in winter while all other sampling was done in summer months. Seasonal variation can be attributed to noisy rural activities being less prominent in the winter when 2011 monitoring was done. Wildlife such as birds and insects are less abundant in the winter, and people are less likely to be outdoors in the evening and at night. Farming activities such as hay making are also less likely in winter. Future monitoring results will determine if this is a likely long term trend or whether results were impacted by seasonal variation. Figures 1 and 2 show L10 and L95 noise trends.

In 2010/11 there were less than 100 noise complaints in the rural area (figure 3). This is a relatively low number compared to the urban area which had 3370 complaints in the same year (see Noise levels and complaints in the urban area). Figure 4 shows the most common types of noise complaints in the rural area are music related, with stereo noise being the most common complaint. Since 2008/09 however rural noise complaints in general show a downward trend (figure 3). This trend could correlate with noise level monitoring results which would indicate that rural zones have become less noisy, however it is more likely to be caused by seasonal variation. Vehicle, alarm and machinery noise complaints shown in figure 5 are a very small number. The most complaints shown in figure 5 were six for motorbike noise in 2008/09. In general the distance between residents in the rural area and general tolerance of neighbours’ ‘working noise’ is likely to result in fewer noise complaints.

 
Table of Noise Terminology
Table 1. Explanation of noise terminology
Source: Rotorua noise monitoring report, Rotorua Lakes Council, 2011
 
 Table for Average noise levels 2006 to 2011
Table 2. Differences in average noise levels from 2006 to 2011 monitoring
Source: Rotorua noise monitoring report, Rotorua Lakes Council, 2011
  1. Note:
    Monitoring in 2006 was done in summer, while in 2011 monitoring was done in winter. Results are likely to be affected by seasonal variation.
  2. A 0-2 dB difference can be considered ‘imperceptible’ and a 3 dB difference is often considered to be ‘just perceptible’.

Chart of noise monitoring in rural zones
Figure 1:  Source: Rotorua Lakes Council

Chart of noise monitoring in rural zones
Figure 2:  Source: Rotorua Lakes Council, 2011

Chart of Total noise complaints in rural area
Figure 3: Source: Rotorua Lakes Council, 2011

Chart for music related complaints in rural area
Figure 4: Source: Rotorua Lakes Council, 2011

Chart for Vehicle, alarm and machinery noise in rural area
Figure 5: Source: Rotorua Lakes Council, 2011

In Summary

  • There is a decrease in noise levels from 1994 to 2011 in the rural area, especially during evening and night times. This may be due to seasonal variation as 2011 sampling was done in winter. All other sampling was done in summer. 
  • There is a decrease in number of noise complaints since 2008/09 
  • Most common noise complaints in the rural area are for stereo noise 
  • There are low numbers of complaints for alarm, vehicle and machinery noise.
There is a decrease in noise levels from 1994 to 2011 in the rural area, especially during evening and night times. This may be due to seasonal variation as 2011 sampling was done in winter. All other sampling was done in summer.


 

     

 
Page reviewed: 03 Jul 2019 10:11am