Night-time economy 'under attack'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Influx of complaints: pubs and late-night venues receiving more noise complaints post pandemic (Credit: Getty/Flashpop)
Influx of complaints: pubs and late-night venues receiving more noise complaints post pandemic (Credit: Getty/Flashpop)

Related tags Licensing Legislation NTIA

The UK’s Night-Time Economy (NTE) has been “under attack” as escalation of noise complaints becomes a “real issue”, according to the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA).

After becoming used to quieter evenings over the last three years following the pandemic and various lockdowns, with limited or no NTE engagement due to restrictions, the NTIA stated the amount of residential noise complaints against the sector has “escalated exponentially”.

Coupled with growing operating costs, businesses in the UK are being challenged by police and licensing authorities through resident complaints, but, according to the NITA, the reality is they are being scrutinised for doing what has always been done. 

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “The UK's NTE businesses are under attack, undeservedly in many cases.

“These businesses have weathered over three years of austerity, and now with untenable operating costs, face a fight for survival.

Feeling pressure 

“The escalation of noise complaints across the UK has become a real issue with businesses not only feeling the pressures of current costs and trade, but now the notion their livelihoods could be challenged at any moment.”

Following an influx of noise complaints since the sector reopened after lockdown in July 2021, businesses are now under pressure to tone down music and tell patrons to leave pubs quietly from vibrant urban areas, such as London.

According to the NTIA, some of the complaints against pubs have been born from malice, though some were due to residential developments taking place during the pandemic where licensing and planning did not consider the long-term impacts.

Furthermore, the association stated the majority of the industry works hard to be part of a business community that considers its neighbours, working closely with groups to ensure communication and resolve issues.

This comes as last month saw the Little Angel​ pub in Whitby, Yorkshire, given three noise abatement orders for complaints including laughter from customers, the sound of wheelie bins being put out and loud music.

Backbone to local economies 

Licensee Richard Nattriss explained to the Morning Advertiser, despite the complaints and other challenges faced by the sector over recent years, the pubs license allows live music until 2am but the operator has always ensured everything is shut down by 12:30am to avoid causing disturbances.

Furthermore, Nattriss stated if the Angel’s license was to be reviewed and subsequently changed, the detriment to the business would be severe, as it is well known as a live music venue and could result in staff redundancies.

In order to combat this issue, the NTIA has called for the Government to work towards protecting the hospitality sector through agent of change and asset protection schemes similar to Berlin, particularly the independent businesses that are such a vital part of the cultural makeup of the country.

Kill added: “With an estimated 300m visitors to the UK’s nightlife each year, these businesses are vitally important to the recovery of the capital and are the backbone to our local economies.

“We need the Government to recognise the importance of these businesses and protect them with the same vigour they would the museums, galleries and historic sites the UK is known so well for.”

Related topics Licensing law

Related news

Show more