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Vehicles and the environment

The impact of vehicles on the environment is something we must all consider as our roads become busier and petrol prices rise. Here you will find useful information about alternative fuel options as well as standards to minimise air and noise pollution.

  Applicable legislation (vehicles and the environment)

Noise pollution regulations limit offensive noise levels from vehicles.

Acceptable noise limits, together with a national standardised test procedure, are in Part 10 of the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014.

You will also find vehicle emissions legislation in Part 10 of the Rules. Please refer to the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014.

Opens in a new window Department of Justice: Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014

  Assessment of vehicle noise levels

We have authorised private companies (Authorised Noise Level Assessors) which employ suitably qualified employees, to carry out noise level measurements of vehicles.

Typically, noise level measurements will be required on particular vehicles that have been inspected or are to be subsequently inspected by an Authorised Inspection Station

A vehicle is usually tested when an enforcement officer/examiner considers it emits excessive noise or because the vehicle is one that requires a noise test to be licensed. Such vehicles include 'Individually Constructed Vehicles' and 'Street Rods'.

Authorised Assessors are responsible for conducting the tests, completing the necessary paper work and issuing the vehicle owner with an official Noise Level Record form.

The customer must take their vehicle and the endorsed test result an Authorised Inspection Station

Generally, the inspection report will be automatically finalised without any further charge when the acoustic report confirms that the vehicle conforms to standards.

More information and a list of authorised noise level assessors

More information is provided in the information bulletin below, including contacts details of Authorised Noise Level Assessors in Western Australia.

Information for noise level assessors

The handbook for noise level assessors below provides information on:

  • Application to become an Authorised Noise Level Assessor or Officer.
  • Certification procedure.
  • Forms.
  • Prescribed test procedures.
  • Responsibilities.
LBU_VS_IB_121.pdf icon IB-121E: Vehicle noise assessors (Information Bulletin) Kb
lbu_vs_cp_104.pdf icon CP-104B: Authorised noise assessor's handbook (Code of Practice) Kb

  Emission testing of modified light vehicles

The information bulletin below provides information on emission testing for light vehicles that have undergone modifications.

The bulletin includes information on:

  • Extractors and other exhaust modifications.
  • Turbochargers, superchargers and modified camshafts.
  • Vehicles with a temporary modification permit.
lbu_vs_ib_124.pdf icon IB-124G: Emission testing for light vehicles update (Information Bulletin) Kb

  How vehicle emissions affect our environment and air quality

While vehicle emissions contribute to air pollution, the degree of your vehicle's impact on air quality is determined by a number of factors. These include:

  • The age and condition of your vehicle.
  • The distances you travel.
  • Your driving style.
  • Your vehicle's technology.

The two main causes of air pollution in Perth are smoke and smog. In summer, the main air quality problem is photochemical smog, which is caused by sunlight reacting with nitrogen dioxide and volatile organic compounds, including petrol vapours.

Effective vehicle maintenance can help reduce smoke emissions from your vehicle.

  Information on environmentally friendly alternative fuels

We encourage the use of environmentally friendly alternative fuels. It is expected that the use of alternative fuels will increase substantially in time. Find out more about using alternative fuels.

  Standards in place to reduce smog

We are the government agency responsible for implementing the Road Traffic (Vehicle Standards) Rules 2002 in WA. The rules place limits on the smoke being emitted from the exhausts of vehicles on the roads (e.g. cars, trucks, motorcycles).

We help to develop Australian Design Rules (ADRs) that restrict emissions and put a cap on a whole range of invisible pollutants that affect our environment and health.

Fuel standards are tied closely to new emission control technologies and we also advise on these matters, predicting the impact of reforms on the State and our industry before any new technologies are adopted into standards.

Regulation 354 of the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 states:

354 visible emissions

  • This regulation applies to a motor vehicle that is propelled by an internal combustion engine and was built after 1930.
  • The vehicle must not emit visible emissions for a continuous period of at least 10 seconds.
  • However, this regulation does not apply to emissions that are visible only because of heat or the condensation of water vapour.

The ten second rule

The Department of Environment and Conservation's publication 'Smoky Vehicle Emissions and the Ten-Second Rule' provides information on:

  • How you can reduce air pollution from smoky vehicles.
  • The difference between exhaust water vapour and smoke emissions.
  • The ten second rule.

Reporting smoky vehicles

You can report a smoky vehicle to the Department of Environment and Conservation.

Opens in a new window Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER): Community updates
Opens in a new window Department of Justice: Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014


Page last updated: Thu Aug 27 2020 5:05:22 PM