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Updates to the Trusts's Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Prevention Notice

The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust is seeking feedback on updates to the Trust’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Prevention Notice. The notice sets out a framework for event sound on Trust land. The notice was originally issued by the EPA in 2003 and advancements in technology mean we are better able to monitor, manage and control sound output from events.

The Domain has a long and rich history of events stretching back to our Aboriginal ancestors and we strive to keep this heritage alive by hosting a diverse range of events. Events are an important part of what the Trust provides to the community, with our wide-ranging program delivering social, cultural and financial benefits.

As part of our approval to stage outdoor events, the EPA has set conditions which include limits for amount of days and hours during which amplified sound may be produced. Events are classified as one of the following:
 
  • category 1 – cinema
  • category 2 – low impact events (noise limit of LaMax 55dB(A) and LcMax70dB(C) at the sensitive receiver noise monitoring point)
  • category 3 – concerts and festivals (noise limit of Leq, 5min 77dB(A) and 97 dB(C) at the sensitive receiver noise monitoring point).
 
The proposed updates to the notice are:
 
  • category 3 events permitted 16 times per year (previously 12)
  • of these 16 events, there may be 12 x 10 hour events and 4 x 12 hour events
  • category 3 events permitted on consecutive days two times per year
  • category 2 events in the Phillip Precinct in the Domain may run for 10 hours (previously 8 hours).
The updates will apply to category 2 and 3 events that take place at the Phillip Precinct in the Domain only. There will be no change to events that take place at Fleet Steps, Tarpeian Precinct or the Crescent Precinct. These changes reflect advancements in technology over the last 18 years that mean we can minimise event sound impacts on neighbours.
 
If you would like to provide feedback on the draft notice you can do so by emailing feedback@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au. Public consultation will run from 25 May to 25 June 2021. If you would like to opt in to receive event notifications, or have any questions, please contact us via feedback@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.   

Frequently Asked Questions
Cities and towns across Australia hold events to create a sense of place and to encourage the community to come together and enjoy our public spaces. The Domain has a long and rich history of events stretching back to our Aboriginal ancestors and we strive to keep this heritage alive by hosting a diverse range of events. Events are an important part of what the Trust provides to the community, with our wide-ranging program delivering social, cultural and financial benefits.
 
High participation and public satisfaction feedback show that the community appreciate and enjoy our events. Initiatives contributing to this include the implementation of an event framework with designated portions of charitable, arts and children’s events.
The event management processes at the Trust are industry best practice. All major events go through a rigorous planning phase where sound, traffic and other associated major event impacts are identified and mitigated against. Minimising major event impacts on neighbours is considered extensively and a condition of venue hire. We provide advice and guidance to our clients in the planning phase and manage compliance during the event operation.
 
During music events independent sound engineers monitor noise levels inside and outside the site, and when requested, at local residences. If sound limits are found to exceed the allowable levels, the engineers instruct the sound stages to reduce the volume immediately. This process continues throughout the event, to ensure that noise management is both effective and timely.
 
The Trust has a dedicated resident sound hotline number is available to call during sound test times and events. If you experience any sound impacts, please call the sound hotline number on 9231 8330 for assistance.
 
Neighbours are notified of upcoming events via email. To sign up to receive event notifications, please email feedback@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au. Event notifications are also posted on our website here.
Earlier this year it was announced that the Domain, as part of a 100-hectare site east of Sydney’s CBD, has been added to Australia’s National Heritage List. The National Heritage List protects places that are of natural, historic and Indigenous places of outstanding significance to the nation.
 
In 2018 the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust was granted holistic approval for the continued use as an entertainment venue for temporary events, and erection of structures associated with these events, for a 10 year period. The DA states that the temporary nature of events poses no significant impact on heritage or amenity aspects. More information about the DA is available here.
As part of our approval to stage outdoor events, the EPA has set conditions which include limits for amount of days and hours during which amplified sound may be produced. Events are classified as one of the following:  
The proposed updates to the notice are:
  • category 3 events permitted 16 times per year (previously 12)
  • of these 16 events, there may be 12 x 10 hour events and 4 x 12 hour events
  • category 3 events permitted on consecutive days two times per year
  • category 2 events in the Phillip Precinct in the Domain may run for 10 hours (previously 8 hours).
 
The changes will apply to category 2 and 3 events that take place at the Phillip Precinct in the Domain only. There will be no change to events that take place at Fleet Steps, Tarpeian Precinct or the Crescent Precinct.
 
The notice was originally issued by the EPA in 2003 and with advancements in technology we are better able to monitor, manage and control sound output from events. This means neighbours are less likely to experience sound impacts from events hosted in the Domain.

There have been many advances in speaker cabinet design and system management strategies over the last 20 years. Line array technology and sophisticated digital audio processing now allows for more precise sound pattern control, focusing audio to the audience area and reducing unwanted noise spill from the sound system.

System management software provides audio staff the tools to tailor the sound system to the venue, increasing the patron experience while reducing the noise emissions from the event site.
 
Consultation will run from 25 May to 25 June 2021.