Dust and dirt from building construction work, mowing when overly dry, landscaping, chemical spray and spray painting can be a nuisance to neighbours and interfere with normal daily activities. If severe enough, it can also damage property and impact on people’s health. This information can help residents and the building industry to reduce dust emissions and meet legal requirements.

If I am undertaking an activity that might cause air pollution what can I do?

Discuss with nearby occupants

  • If work such as excavating, building or landscaping is planned, it may be helpful to discuss this with nearby building occupants beforehand.
  • A sign with contact details on site, or distribution of leaflets, may help prevent complaints.

Work plan

  • Plan what work needs to be done.
  • Don’t split the work over too long of a period as this increases excess dust.
  • Try to carry out work in stages so some vegetation can be left as barriers as stages are completed.
  • It is important to consider the location, height and width of fences prior to construction.
  • Check the wind direction and weather conditions.
  • Limit vehicle speeds and consider reducing the time vehicles use unsealed roads.
  • Use property access points away from neighbours.

Physical barriers

  • Physical barriers such as fences can be very effective when used properly.
  • Material such as shade cloth could be erected as a dust fence around the work area.
  • Retain as many plants and as much grass on the site as possible. Strips of grass can act as dust barriers to neighbouring properties. Even low or small amounts of vegetation can significantly lower wind speed and reduce the amount of dust leaving a site.


  • Spraying water onto topsoil can be very effective in reducing dust.
  • It is important that enough water is used to keep the topsoil layer damp and that spraying is completed before strong breezes develop.

How can I make a complaint about air pollution?

Discuss with your neighbour

People are sometimes unaware that their activities are causing a nuisance. Ipswich City Council encourages all residents and business operators to talk to their neighbours first about nuisance problems and only make a complaint if the issue remains unresolved.

Before you proceed with lodging a complaint, please refer to the below question to see if Council is the appropriate contact for your issue.

Is your complaint being caused by motorbikes/vehicle activity?

If you answered yes, please contact Policelink or phone 131 444.

If you answered no to the question listed above, please follow the below steps to lodge your complaint with Council. Have the following information ready:

  • details of the source and nature of the issue
  • where the issue is coming from and how it is affecting you? i.e the specific address/location of the nuisance, if you cannot provide the address council may be unable to take specific action
  • specific information on how often the issue is happening e.g. what time and on what day/s

Contact Council by one of the methods below:

Note: If the issue is occurring outside of business hours, the complaint can be actioned by council’s after-hours patrol officers. Please contact Council when the issue is occurring (24 hours) so that an investigating officer can be tasked to attend to the location while the nuisance is occurring.

How does Council manage an air pollution complaint?

Council will initially attend the property causing the issue and determine if air pollution is detectable or the cause is evident. As part of this inspection, the following can occur:

  • If no air pollution is detected, Council Officers will contact the person who has made the report and see if further information is available or advise of the outcome.
  • If a breach is identified, Council speak to the residents causing the issue to attempt to resolve it.  If necessary, Council may issue Compliance Notice.
  • If a Compliance Notice is issued, a follow up process is put in place and will be undertaken to determine if the breach is ongoing after the expiration of the notice.
  • If the breach is found to be continued then further action, including the issuing of infringement notices, can occur.

Complaints not investigated by Council

Council shares responsibility for dust and dirt complaints with other authorities. Council does not investigate the following:

  • an environmentally relevant activity regulated by the Department of Environment and Science (e.g. chemical manufacturing)
  • an environmentally relevant activity regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (e.g. poultry farming)
  • a state or local government premises or activity; this is the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Science.