New noise penalties are proposed in UK

August 2006

Live event industry

Pubs that cause late-night noise will face the threat of a £500 on-the-spot fine under new government plans. If the matter goes to court the penalty for licensees could rise to £5,000 on conviction. Under the proposals, which are part of theClean Neighbourhoods and EnvironmentAct, councils will be given extra powers to deal with one-off incidents of noise.

The changes, which come into effect in October, have been prompted by residents’ fears over later pub opening under the new licensing laws. Ben Bradshaw, local environment minister, explained that the new law will allow for penalties for one off incidents of noise rather than ongoing noise saying “With the new powers, local authorities can deal with one-off incidents of excessive noise from licensed premises in the same way they can from households: quickly and effectively.” Licensed premises could be fined for a one-off offence if they are creating excess noise between 11pm and 7am. Licensees have reacted angrily to the new rules. The Publican reports that James Harris (I think I went to school with him, Ed) licensee at the Half Moon in Putney, South London, said: “It’s another piece of legislation we could do without. The government is putting more power into the hands of over-zealous local councils and it means that not everybody will be treated the same”. “What will be classed as noise? Will it be on the premises or outside the premises?” The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is carrying out a consultation on the changes.

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