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Top tips: don’t give anyone a reason to be noisy

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Sound choices: ensure your music is contained
Sound choices: ensure your music is contained

Related tags: Licensing, Public house

It may feel a long way away given the recent storms, but spring really is just around the corner – it officially starts on 20 March.

While good weather provides a welcome boost to trade, particularly for those with beer gardens, it is worth considering the amount of noise that ‘alfresco’ eating and drinking can create; particularly if your premises are located near any residential properties or if you host live bands or DJs.

There are many different examples of entertainment that are no longer classed as licensable activities, since deregulation began in 2012. For example, live music or recorded music on licensed premises, where the bar is open for the sale of alcohol, is no longer licensable between the hours of 8am and 11pm for audiences up to 500. Unamplified music is no longer licensable for an audience of any size if the same criteria are satisfied. The deregulation also suspends certain music-related conditions, however. You should check your premises licence and ensure that it has not been subject to a review and a statement that the exemptions and deregulations do not apply. Regulated entertainment is a complex area and we would, therefore, advise that you seek legal advice.

Regardless of whether the entertainment you are providing is deregulated, already authorised by your premises licence, or you are operating under a temporary event notice, it is important to remember that you still have a duty to promote the licensing objectives and this includes the prevention of public nuisance.

Measures which can help prevent public nuisance include the following:

  • Air conditioning to provide suitable temperature control within your premises and reduce the requirement for windows to be open. Window locks can also be effective in preventing customers and staff inadvertently leaving windows open, which can lead to noise break out
  • Creating a noise lobby (in other words, two sets of doors leading out of the premises rather than one). You will need to consider any licensing and planning implications as such changes to means of escape may require an application for approval. Self-closing devices on doors can also assist in reducing noise break out
  • Installing a noise limiter, if necessary set and ‘locked down’ at a level agreed with your local environmental health o­fficer
  • If you have noise complaints, consider the positioning of any speakers and regularly monitor the situation by undertaking your own noise checks. Make sure you record these in a log to show to your licensing officer and environmental health officer as this demonstrates good due diligence
  • Make sure your entertainment stops when it is supposed to. Providing unauthorised licensable activities is a criminal offence that can lead to enforcement action, prosecution and/or a review of the premises licence

Live and recorded music are a huge and enjoyable part of many pubs’ offer, but they bring their own issues, particularly in the summer months.

Understanding their potential effect on your neighbours and managing their expectations is critical to avoiding complaints, or worse, formal enforcement action.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website​.

Related topics: Licensing Hub, Licensing law

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