What steps can I take as the licence holder or DPS to prevent noise complaints?

There are several simple steps you can take to try to prevent complaints, including:

  • control the volume of music. It may be helpful to set a limit and ensure any external parties such a guest DJs or bands keep to it.
  • install a noise limiter to control sound levels. An independent noise consultant will be able to advise on this.
  • keep windows and doors closed when entertainment is taking place.
  • install self-closing mechanisms to external doors.
  • monitor inside and outside your venue when entertainment is taking place.
  • keep loudspeakers away from party walls and external windows and place them on an absorbent material such as an acoustic rubber mat which will minimise noise transmitted through the floor.

Gardens, smoking areas and customers

The council understands that noise from customers can be difficult to control in these areas, but there are steps you can take to provide information and control noise from customers when they’re inside your venue and leaving:

  • put notices on exit doors asking customers to be mindful of neighbours and to keep the noise down when in the garden or smoking area, and when leaving the premises.
  • position door staff at entrances and exits to monitor customer behaviour but to also to ensure doors are regularly closed to prevent sound escaping from the building.
  • do not play music in the garden or smoking areas.
  • think about preventing drinking in the garden after a certain time.

Deliveries

Delivery vehicles, the changing of barrels, the rattle of bottles and the collection of waste can all create problems.

The most effective way to reduce noise is to make sure they occur at reasonable times – between 8am and 6pm.

Plant and equipment

When installing new equipment (refrigeration units, air conditioning or extract ventilation systems) consider their noise output and how and where they will be located. Refrigeration units may need to work through the night and noise levels which seem reasonable during the day may not be overnight.

Ideally equipment should be located so that the building provides as much screening as possible for neighbours. If this is not possible, controls such as timers, silencers or acoustic enclosures can be used.

If you have concerns about potential noise, please seek specialist advice from the installer or manufacturer, or an acoustic specialist. Regular maintenance is essential to ensure noise is kept to a minimum. You may need planning permission to install new plant or equipment.

Enforcement: what happens if my premises causes a noise nuisance?

We will always strive to work informally with you as the business owner, to resolve any complaints raised with us first. However, we have the following powers for cases that cannot be resolved informally:

  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on the council to investigate complaints of noise nuisance. If a noise is found to be causing a statutory noise nuisance by affecting the health or materially interfering with the use and enjoyment of a neighbouring property then a legal notice will be served on the person responsible, requiring the abatement of the noise. Failure to comply with the notice can result in a fine of up to £20,000.
  • The Licensing Act 2003 requires that the activities of a licensable premises must prevent public nuisance. If complaints of nuisance are received and are shown to be justified, your licence may be reviewed, revoked or have conditions attached to prevent further nuisance. If you fail to meet the conditions of your licence, then you may be prosecuted. The maximum fine is £20,000 and/or six months’ imprisonment.
  • The council’s environmental health team is also a statutory consultee for temporary event notices. If we have received a noise complaint regarding a previous event it will be expected that you have put controls in place to prevent further complaints.
  • The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 allows the council to make a 24-hour closure order if it is believed that public nuisance is being caused by noise from licensed premises, and that closure is necessary to prevent the nuisance.