Trade celebrates as noise proposal is finally silenced

Related tags European parliament European union Pub association Liberal democrats European commission

The trade is celebrating after winning its battle against European proposals to impose noise restrictions in pubs.MEPs have voted to amend the...

The trade is celebrating after winning its battle against European proposals to impose noise restrictions in pubs.

MEPs have voted to amend the proposals, originally aimed at cutting noise in factories, to exclude music in pubs.

The legislation would have lowered legal noise limits in pubs from 90 decibels to 85 decibels, which the trade feared would rule out live music, karaoke and even singing during football matches.

While the new amendment still has to be rubber stamped by the European Commission and Council of Ministers it is hoped that the strength of this week's vote, which was almost unanimous, will carry it through.

News of the trade victory followed weeks of lobbying by campaigners and a barrage of letters from angry licensees in the UK.

The British Beer and Pub Association and the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group were said to be instrumental in the successful campaign.

Robert Humphreys, secretary of the Beer Group, said "I am absolutely delighted - it really is terrific news.

"This is a great tribute to all those companies and individuals who have sent emails and written letters and is really a huge relief for the trade."

Lee Le Clercq, secretary of the North West Beer and Pub Association, said the association had written to all the MEPs in the region asking them to support the campaign.

"We wrote to them and they all worked very hard on our behalf to get this through so we really are delighted," he added.

Phillip Rycroft, public affairs manager at Scottish & Newcastle, welcomed news of the vote.

"What the commission should have done was consider the impact this could have on the industry before introducing the proposal," he added.

Conservative MEPs, who had met with the trade campaigners, proposed the amendment and it was agreed by the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party in the UK earlier this week.

Tory MEP Philip Bushill-Matthews said: "This turned into a national campaign - and it succeeded."

Georgina Wald, spokeswoman for the British Institute of Innkeeping, said she had written to all 86 MEPs asking them to oppose the proposals.

"This is fantastic news - the best I have heard this year so far," she said. "It just goes to show what we can do when we all work together as an industry."

The amendment exempting the leisure industry was considered necessary after the European parliament rejected a different amendment that would have allowed noise in pubs to be measured over several days, then averaged. Without this averaging, trade leaders feared pubs could be unfairly prosecuted.

A pub with music can generate 90 decibels at busy times but just 75 decibels on average over the week - but under the terms of the directive, breaking noise limits for just a few hours once a week would have meant staff would be forced to wear ear plugs like workers in factories.

Last month the trade successfully fought proposals to lower acceptable noise limits even further to 83 decibels.

Related stories:

Noise ban threat lingers on (28th February 2002)

European noise reduction proposals dropped (14 February 2002)

BBPA joins protest over European proposals to limit pub noise (4 February 2002)

European noise reduction proposals debated (25 January 2002)

Trade hits out at 'straight banana' proposal that could end pub music (17 January 2002)

Licensees risk police or local authority action and compensation claims from barstaff if they do not keep control of noise levels in their venue. We look at ways to address the risk.

Related topics Legislation

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