Campaigners are calling for a clampdown on noisy pubs after a new survey revealed that pubs and clubs are the UK's biggest source of complaints over late-night noise.
The National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection (NSCA) is urging ministers to consider a National Noise Strategy to help address late-night noise but licensees fear it could lead to more objections from residents.
The NSCA found that complaints about pubs were on the increase in 51 per cent of the areas surveyed.
It claims longer pub hours have aggravated the problem.
A national strategy is likely to include requirements on pubs to insulate premises more thoroughly. More than three-quarters of local authorities in England and Wales said they would support better sound insulation.But this could prove expensive for licensees.
Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, urged the trade to work with local authorities.
He said: "You have to take precautions such as closing the windows or putting up signs warning customers to keep the noise down as they leave. There are also measures like noise-limiters that can be fitted to equipment."
The rise in complaints is also bad news for licensing reform, with the trade already concerned that residents may be able to prevent later opening by lodging objections.
But Mr Payne said licensees who do win extended hours may agree to turn off music at 11pm to avoid complaints.