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The Noise of Summer

Top Tips - preventative measures for reducing noise nuisance

Although it has taken its time to arrive and done its best to avoid weekends, the weather does generally seem to be on the up.  This should be good news for licensed premises especially those with external areas as part of the offer.  It is, however, important to realise that increased use of external spaces brings with it a heightened risk of noise complaints.  Equally, warmer weather increases the likelihood that local residents will have their windows open during the evening and even at night when they are trying to sleep.  This combination of factors means that the issue of noise needs to be carefully managed over the coming months.

It would therefore be prudent to consider the following:

  • Re-read your Premises Licence to ensure strict compliance with all conditions, particularly those relating to noise and external areas;
  • Re-train staff on relevant conditions to ensure compliance and on noise issues generally – particularly if you have local residents in the vicinity.  Ensure that a written record is maintained in order to establish due diligence should the need arise;
  • Give consideration to additional noise related signage and / or staff monitoring in an effort to minimise potential disturbance.

Should you receive complaints nonetheless then it is imperative to act quickly to resolve them in an effort to avoid a potential Review or service of a Noise Abatement Notice.  Either of these eventualities will be time consuming, expensive and with a potential for long term damage to the business.  If either eventuality should arise despite your best efforts then consider the following:

  • Instruction of an acoustic consultant to analyse the issues and liaise with the Local Authority’s Environmental Health Department towards an agreed solution;
  • Obtain copies of relevant planning permissions for any dwellings providing a source of complaint to ensure that any conditions regarding sound attenuation have been complied with.
  • It is also imperative to obtain legal advice at the earliest opportunity.  In the case of a Review you will have approximately 7-8 weeks between being made aware of the application and the Hearing before the Licensing Committee. In the case of a Noise Abatement Notice being served you will be at immediate risk of prosecution and / or seizure of music equipment in the event that the Notice is breached.  You do have the right to Appeal the Notice within the 21 days following service but the available grounds are very specific and legal advice is therefore essential.

Noise problems are often difficult to solve from a technical perspective as well as being governed by complex and unwieldy legislation.  Efforts made to avoid them arising in the first place are therefore well worth it.

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