There has been an increase in noise complaints as development in Wollongong’s CBD continues to rise.

An online survey among Wollongong residents, conducted by Numbeo, has revealed that while pollution issues in the city are generally low, noise pollution has been a source of nuisance that is threatening residents’ quality of life.

With development in the city continuing to rise over the last three years, construction noise has also boomed.

University of Wollongong PhD candidate Sunnefa Yeatman Omarsdottir, who researches international policy on marine noise pollution, said that noise can have detrimental impacts on both humans and (other) animals.

“Noise is sound that is perceived as uncomfortable and unpleasant and that living beings intend to avoid,” Ms Omarsdottir said.

“It can cause mental and physiological stress to humans, and negatively affect communication and migration of marine life.

“But the main difference is that humans have the capacity to express it [discomfort caused by noise.”

Wollongong’s economy has grown substantially since 2016, with many industry sectors undergoing considerable growth. Notable sectors among these are construction and manufacturing.

Manufacturing had the largest industry output of all sectors in Wollongong, generating $5,320 million in 2021/22, a doubling since 2016/17. Also, construction of high-rise apartment complexes and office buildings has been booming.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and scientific reports, the manufacturing and construction sectors are major contributors to noise pollution. Therefore, the growth of these sectors raises concerns about an ongoing future increase in noise pollution in Wollongong.

These sectors have also accounted for most hearing loss compensation claims among New South Wales (NSW) workers.

“Appropriate [noise] regulation needs to come from a perspective outside of industry, such as the government or a municipality,” Ms Omarsdottir said.

In her Facebook post in February, Wollongong City Cr. Tania Brown announced new rules to address construction noise in the Wollongong CBD, hoping to provide relief to frustrated locals.

“A detailed Construction Noise and Vibration Management Plan will now be required prior to development assessment,” Ms Brown wrote.

“These measures identify how developers can work with residents to identify a community consultation strategy, including notifications for noisy work periods, complaints resolution procedures, built-in respite periods and mitigation strategies for different stages of the development.”

It is hoped that the new measures will see Wollongong residents complain less about noise pollution over the coming years.

Those wanting to complain about noise can contact Council online, or call 42277111. Or, noise complaints from industrial sites, like mines or ports, can be made through the NSW EPA on 131 555.