Noise nuisance can be caused by a number of factors which are inherent within licensable activities. Live & recorded music, karaoke, PA systems, machinery & equipment, taxis waiting or vehicle doors banging, smoking areas, pub gardens, customers both inside and outside your premises, and general rowdyism from persons not necessarily associated with your own customers e.g. people queuing outside your premises who are yet to be admitted. You should use your best efforts to minimise high levels of noise.
Many, many noise complaints are caused by amplified music coming from Licensed Premises, breaking out as audible music or vibration – a repetitive ‘thumping’ sound.
There are many ways in which you can prevent, or minimise, this sound ‘leakage’ and you should consider the following:
- Keeping windows and doors closed when noisy activities are taking place will reduce the amount of noise emanating from your premises. If you keep the windows closed, you will have to ensure that you have sufficient fresh air circulating – maybe by using air conditioning.
- The use of an ‘air lock’ or ‘lobby’ system of two sets of self-closing doors at the entrance/exit of the premises will provide good noise control provided they are not opened simultaneously or even left propped open.
- Regular checks of the noise levels you are generating whilst conducting licensable activities will help you monitor those levels. Although not evidential, hand held noise monitors or noise monitoring smart phone apps will help you record your noise levels so that you can conduct comparisons. These noise checks should be conducted at sensible distances from your premises, and especially near any noise-sensitive properties that may be affected.
- Keep speakers within your premises and point them away from doors, windows and party walls. Any speaker mountings should be incapable of transferring vibration to your outside walls so as to cause vibration which can be detected outside your premises.
- Consider sound deadening measures, such as double glazing and rock wool sound insulation injected into your wall cavities. Look at installing sound curtains.
- Consider a noise limiting device to control the maximum volume levels at which your sound systems can be operated. Many of these have a cut off trigger, which cuts the power to your systems in the event that the acceptable sound level is exceeded on a given number of occasions in a performance or compression equipment is also available which causes less interruption. (Contact your AV supplier)
- If your local Environmental Health Department write to you expressing complaints about noise, contact them back straight away. Invite them down for a site visit whereupon you can encourage them to help you create a Noise Plan with agreed acceptable noise levels.
- Ensure that all your machinery (not only sound systems and noise limiters, but…) kitchen extraction systems, refrigerators & chillers and air conditioning units are regularly checked by your staff and serviced by qualified engineers to ensure that they are working properly, efficiently and not generating excess noise levels.
- If your premises are near residential properties, avoid emptying your waste bins (especially glass bins!) in the late evening or overnight. Set systems so that your refuse is managed during the working day. Remember: noise travels three times further at night due to the absence of daytime background noise and the added moisture in the air at night makes it a better conductor of sound.
- Think carefully about your outdoor areas and smoking shelters. These should be screened and located as far from residential properties as your footprint will permit in order to minimise disturbance. Consider additional control measures such as regular patrols from staff or your door team to ensure customers are not noisy.
☝️ Neighbours: Build and maintain great relationships with your neighbours. This will promote goodwill and reduce the likelihood of formal complaints in the event of any difficulties.
✅ You can download a templated Noise Monitoring Log and a ‘Please Leave Quietly’ poster for free from the TLG Vault.