Monday, 14 September 2009

Living next to a noisey pub or club?

Legislation brought in at the same time as extended opening hours allows residents to complain about noise at any time of the day or night - not just after 11pm. In the past year, dozens of live music venues have shut, unable to afford expensive sound-proofing to satisfy noise-abatement orders.

If neighbours complain about noise, landlords now face fixed-penalty notices under the 2005 Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act and Noise Abatement Notices, or a fine of up to £20,000 under the Environmental Protection Act 1980.

"It used to be that the issue of noise was handled simply by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport but now the whole thing is such a mess that the Home Office is giving seminars on how to stay on the right side of the law," said Clare Eames, who specialises in licensing law. "Landlords can be taken to task under so many different pieces of legislation at present that they often don't know how to stay within the law."

She added: "This cocktail of legislation is making it too difficult for pubs to put live music on safely, so many simply turn off the amps and pack away the drum kits."

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