Noise Problems – outdoor and indoor venues

Neighbours complaining

Marquees especially, are by the very nature of the materials used in their manufacture, not constructed to keep amplified music within their confines. If you use a marquee to hold your events and are within earshot of a residential area, then chances are that sooner or later a resident, or residents, will complain about how loud the music is, especially the thumping bass. Hopefully their first complaint will be made to you and you should take every measure possible to find a solution to their complaint. If they happen to call the local council, then you will most certainly be in for a visit from the Environmental Health Officer and the situation will then become a lot more serious. The outcome, if the problem is not resolved to their satisfaction, is that you may be served with a noise abatement notice or even suffer licence restrictions for your premises.

EHO visits

The Environmental Health Officer is duty bound to visit your premises to investigate any noise related complaint made against you. Although under the Environmental Protection Act they have far reaching powers, they are generally willing to work with all parties concerned to arrive at a fair solution to the problem.

Noise Abatement Notice

If no solution can be found initially and if after further investigation they can prove that a nuisance is still occurring, they will most certainly serve you with a Noise Abatement Notice. The notice tells you what you have to do to stop causing a nuisance and by when. Failure to comply at this stage will inevitably lead to prosecution, seizure of equipment and possible restrictions to your licence.

Licence Restrictions

In severe cases where any other satisfactory solution cannot be agreed on then your licence to hold events may be restricted. If you are a commercial enterprise such as a hotel, stately home or any other venue dependent upon revenue derived from holding music related events on your premises, with or without a marquee, a restriction to your licence can seriously diminish the number of events you may be allowed to hold on an annual basis. This, at the very least could seriously damage your business, reduce you turnover and profit and in some instances lead to the closure of your business.

Music too loud for staff

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations for music and entertainment sectors came into force for Great Britain in April 2008. The aim of the Noise Regulations is to ensure that workers’ hearing is protected from excessive noise at their place of work, which could cause them to lose their hearing and/or to suffer from tinnitus (permanent ringing in the ears).
Music and entertainment sectors are defined in the Noise Regulations as all workplaces where a) live music is played or b) recorded music is played in a restaurant, bar, public house, discotheque or nightclub, or alongside live music or a live dramatic or dance performance. Noise Regulations require each employer to manage the risk to their employees and, where possible, freelancers. They also have a duty to control, reduce and monitor exposure to noise.

Additionally, staff either behind the bar or waiting on tables may find it extremely difficult to hear and take orders when they are within the music zone .

Music too loud for guests

With traditional line array speaker systems used by most DJs, the sound is directed horizontally onto, and beyond, the dance floor. Guests seated at tables adjacent to the dance floor, or at the bar where most singles will congregate, usually find it extremely difficult to hold a conversation which may within a relatively short period of time become irritating and eventually lead them to find a venue where they can hear themselves talk.


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