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Noise from pubs and other venues

We often get complaints about noise from premises such as pubs, clubs, village halls and other community buildings and outdoor venues. They are more common during the summer, when doors and windows are opened more.

We have a statutory duty to investigate such complaints. Our investigations can be very lengthy, and may result in restrictions, requirements for works to reduce noise, licenses being revoked, or even large fines.

By thinking carefully about the impact of your venue on your neighbours and by communicating with them, you can often resolve problems informally or avoid them altogether. The following guidance can help people who run premises avoid problems. It is good practice for all premises, whether or not they are licensed.

Noise complaint form

Amplified music and entertainment

Many premises – even modern ones, were not designed to prevent problems such as amplified music.

Very often, the problem is caused by low frequency bass notes as these carry through structures more easily than higher frequency sounds. However, it can be complex and expensive to remedy structure-borne noise.

  • try to judge noise levels at the boundary of neighbouring houses, rather than within your venue
  • bear in mind that the more often you hold noisy events and the later they finish, the more likely they are to cause complaints
  • contact an acoustic engineer, acoustic consultant or noise and vibration consultant who can install a sound insulation scheme
  • install an acoustic lobby and ensure doors are closed at all times
  • avoid holding entertainment in rooms with windows or doors facing out onto residential areas
  • keep windows closed at all times. Doors should be close-fitting and constructed from dense materials. Keep them closed as much as possible
  • fit mechanical ventilation systems so that you do not need to open doors and windows. Fit all ventilation systems with acoustic baffles
  • designate somebody to control the noise levels for the evening. Never leave the control of the entertainment sound to the entertainers
  • consider giving neighbours the name and telephone number of the person responsible for controlling the noise. They can alert that person if there are any problems, so you can hopefully resolve the matter
  • install a sound limit or cut-out device, with the maximum sound level approved by us
  • the audience will often open fire doors for ventilation. Obviously, you must not lock them. You can connect them to a sound-limiting or cut-out device. Ask a noise consultant for more advice
  • never have music played in a conservatory if your premises are in a residential area. They offer very little resistance to noise

Patrons

  • the designated premises supervisor must take all reasonable steps to ensure nobody causes noise nuisance while on the premises or while leaving
  • put up notices asking for patrons to avoid causing too much noise, especially when leaving
  • employ trained door stewards to restrict entry at certain times and control noisy patrons. This may be a requirement of your licence
  • tell taxi firms they should not sound their horns etc. when collecting customers
  • for some types of events, consider selling tickets that include the cost of private coach transport

Deliveries

  • when loading or unloading, use working methods that minimise noise
  • make sure deliveries are not made late at night or early in the morning. If your site is next to residential or business premises, you should not have deliveries outside the hours of 7.30am to 6pm on weekdays, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. There should be no noisy activities on Sundays or bank holidays

Beer gardens and children’s play areas

  • do not play music in these areas
  • keep doors leading onto these areas closed
  • managers have a responsibility to control customers’ behaviour to make sure it does not cause noise nuisance
  • restrict access to these areas, particularly at night
  • place play equipment and plants such as air blowers for bouncy castles away from boundaries with neighbouring homes

Cleaning and bottling out

  • place refuse storage areas away from neighbouring homes
  • carry out cleaning and bottling out during normal working hours – not early in the morning or late at night
  • provide a smooth pathway between the venue and the refuse area

Plant and equipment

Chiller units, extract ventilation systems and air conditioning etc. can all cause complaints. You may have to get planning permission or building regulations approval before fitting some equipment.

  • install, operate and maintain equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • where possible, place equipment and exhaust outlets away from homes, or screen them
  • always get specialist advice when planning to install such equipment. If necessary, use acoustic silencers, screens and enclosures
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