Licensing Issues - Managing Noise in the Night-Time
With over half of people now living in cities, the balance of the vibrancy caused by noise from night time operators, and the peace and quiet desired by residents is bound to be difficult to achieve.
Since 2003, The Licensing Act has been an important way to achieve this, but 13 years on, the House of Lords are looking into what changes might be needed to get the balance right. The general trend is that pubs and night clubs are going out of business, and whilst residents might think that quiet, empty streets may be a good thing, there is also an expectation for there to be things to do and places to go for recreational diversion, entertainment and relaxation.
We, at Sustainable Acoustics, see this challenge at the sharp end, through the work we do with a variety of premises (including pubs, clubs and restaurants), and also the effects on residents affected by noise. So, it was an honour for Peter Rogers, our Managing Director, to be answering the call to give evidence to the Lords Select Committee as part of their inquiry. He did so, alongside expert Licensing and Planning lawyers and an Environmental Health Officer on the 29th November 2016. You can hear audio of the evidence and download further detail of what he said from Parliamentary TV here.
In summary, he said :
The Licensing Act 2003 needs amendment to deal with noise from premises adequately
He suggested that combining Planning and Licensing considerations to provide an overview, to be more workable and helpful
He suggested changing the test should be varied from the aim of preventing Public Nuisance to one of preventing a Significant Adverse Impact, which is consistent with the higher threshold with the National Noise Policy in England and Wales.
He suggested setting a pre 11pm level for amplified music noise to counter the Live Music Act, to provide clarity for residents , premises and consistency across environmental health, which is sadly lacking currently
He pointed to the Institute of Acoustics' emerging guidance on Pubs and Clubs noise, which is due for issue this year, as a basis for better controls
When asked why Sustainable Acoustics is seeking to influence such changes he says “Society expects to have a night time economy that take account of those living within cities, and good design. Mitigation and management is needed to achieve this balance into the future. If we can help society to grapple with this Jekyll and Hyde problem, then we can use acoustics to help create a future that is more sustainable, which is our goal”.
Peter is keen to work with clients that understand this challenge, and who can then benefit from the security of getting it right.