You have a responsibility to protect the public from noise
You have a legal duty to protect the public from noise as well as those working for you.
Under environmental legislation, you could be found guilty of causing a “statutory nuisance” if noise from your business affects a member of the public’s:
- enjoyment of their land or property, for example a neighbour of your pub in their home or garden
If an environmental health officer from your local authority receives a complaint about your business you could be served with an abatement notice requiring you to stop or limit the noise.
You could also face costly legal action from the individuals affected if you don’t take steps to stop or limit the noise.
To guard against causing a statutory nuisance, talk to your neighbours and establish the likelihood of their being affected by noise generated by your pub.
Consider practical steps you could take to avoid problems. For example, you could:
- minimise noisy activities – such as deliveries – early in the morning and weekends – if you can’t reschedule deliveries explain why to your neighbour (for instance parking or other traffic restrictions apply outside your pub)
- move noisy activities away from boundaries with neighbours – put that barbecue near the pub not up against your neighbour’s fence
- put up noise barriers – this may be DIY (for instance egg carton trays are a good acoustic baffle) or you may need professional solutions such as double glazing
- keep doors and windows closed where possible
- give advance warning if noisy activities are to take place – invite them to the next family day in the beer garden – if necessary offer them a free drink!
- maintain burglar alarms to prevent them going off unnecessarily – these and car alarms are probably the most annoying causes of noise pollution as the inevitably go off when you and your neighbours are sleeping
Top Tip 1 – don’t ignore complaints from your neighbours – try and deal with the matter professionally and courteously.
Top Tip 2 – “the pub was here first” is no excuse and no defence – if you are creating a noise problem for your neighbours the law doesn’t care if the pub’s been there for a hundred years and the neighbour’s house was only built last year!
Top Tip 3 – often it is the “thump-thump-thump” of base tones that travel the furthest and cause the most annoyance, not necessarily the overall level of sound – when a band “sound-checks” go out of the pub (leave any external doors open) and check to see if the level of noise is acceptable at your nearest neighbour … if it’s too loud get the band to turn it down. (Leaving the doors open will also take account of when people enter and leave your pub.)
Top Tip 4 – if you have a ‘smart-phone’ then you might want to download the Noise Nuisance App (click the link) which you can use to record boundary noise levels during live music performances etc . The app allows you to record the noise levels and keep a diary or log of the recordings. One of the features it has is to allow Local Authorities to download such logs that complainants might generate; so by the same token they would be able to download your ‘due diligence log’ if there was ever any complaint raised against your pub.