Trade hits out at 'straight banana' proposal that could end pub music

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A European proposal that could stop pubs playing music has been branded "another straight banana saga" by industry experts.Licensees are being urged...

A European proposal that could stop pubs playing music has been branded "another straight banana saga" by industry experts.

Licensees are being urged to speak out against the proposal, which would lower acceptable noise limits in pubs to 83 decibels - the same levels drivers are exposed to on the motorway.

UK MEPs had agreed with their overseas colleagues that they should lower the current noise limit of 90 decibels to 85 decibels to protect staff.

But Danish MEP Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is Neil Kinnock's daughter-in-law, has now prepared a report on the proposal which recommends a further tightening to 83 decibels.

Robert Humphreys, spokesman for the All-party Parliamentary Beer Group, said the law would be unforceable and likened it to European attempts to standardise bananas in 2000.

He said: "This would mean barstaff would have to wear ear defenders like those that are worn in factories.

"It would also, of course, mean an end to music in pubs."

The trade is concerned that plans to measure average noise levels over a week could also be scrapped in favour of a proposal to take readings on one day, which could be the busiest - and loudest - day of the week.

Mr Humphreys was in Strasbourg last week, along with representatives from the British Beer and Pub Association and Scottish & Newcastle, to discuss the proposals.

He said talks had gone well but more needed to be done.

"It is absolutely essential that anyone concerned about this writes," he said. "I'd also recommend copying the letter to your local paper because this needs to be talked about."

Licensees should write to Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British MEP Stephen Hughes at the European Parliament, Wiertz, B1047, Brussels.

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