Noise Complaints

It’s difficult to run a pub, club, restaurant, hotel, betting shop or off licence without making a certain amount of noise. Bins need to be emptied, stock needs to be delivered, people need to be able to smoke outside and sometimes you need to play music so people can dance.

Often these things can be done without anyone really being distrubed but sometimes, what you’re doing on your premises can become a Nuisance to those around you.

Irregular noise may not be a constant issue that could cause a noise nuisance but regular high levels of noise could be hazardous to local residents.

Noise for Local Residents

Regular noise from your venue may be the cause of disturbance to those in the local surroundings. Although it is understandable that there will be noise during normal working times, excessive noise can become disruptive.

A good first step to take is to speak to the local residents and find out if they have any issues with the current levels of noise that come from your business. Any concerns they may have that you can easily address straight away will minimise the chance of complaints. 

Displaying advance warnings to residences of events that are scheduled to occur at your venue could be useful in preparing residents for a period of noise. Even if your venue has existed longer than local residents have been around, they still have the right to live in peaceful surroundings.

The time of day the noise arises can also be important. The emptying of glass bottles into a bin at midday may be much less disturbing than if the same action takes place at midnight or 6am.

Noise for Employees

Not only is loud noise a potential issue for those outside your business, if your venue experiences consistent loud noise it could be harmful for employees and customers alike. In very loud situations relatively short exposure to noise can result in injury. In these situations, carrying out a noise risk assessment is the first step towards ensuring a safe working environment for staff. The Health and Safety Executive has information on what to look out for when assessing noise in the workplace, and advice on how to monitor and reduce.

If the noise levels are found to be at unsafe levels at any point, above 85 decibels, such as during music performances, then adequate protection should be provided to staff, such as ear plugs. Whatever policy you decide you should document it to evidence how you are planning to deal with health and safety concerns.  


In those instances where people are disturbed they can complain to the local authority.  If the local authority agree with the complainant you can be served with a Noise Abatement Notice, which can order you to stop doing whatever is causing the problems. If the cause of the noise nuisance is a one off event then it can be more simple to address, however if the cause of the noise is a regular occurrence, then you may need to take some extra steps to reduce the noise.

Failure to comply with such a notice can result in a Criminal Prosecution but there are ways you can turn the situation around. As long as it is within 21 days of the notice being served, we can help you appeal the noise abatement order in the Magistrates’ Court.

Ways to reduce noise 

  • Identify the sources of noise that come from your venue. 

Live music or events can be a main cause of noise so if you have regular live events at your venue, it may be worth scheduling your events earlier in the evening.

Noise consultants could be a good option to help you identify and reduce the main causes of noise coming from your venue, working with an outside source who can help you to understand the sources of noise and suggest ways to reduce it.

  • Reducing noise from the building. 

There may be ways in which you reduce noise using the building itself, keeping windows and and doors closed when possible can help to reduce noise, having multiple exits can help to reduce congregations of customers and large groups exiting into the street. 

  • Organise deliveries to avoid disruption.

Deliveries using large vehicles can create a lot of noise. It is understandable that deliveries will be scheduled for when the venue is closed so as to not disturb customers, however scheduling deliveries for early in the morning, or on weekends can create a nuisance to local residents. Try to organise deliveries to come at a time that suits your business, whilst minimising public nuisance. 

If your venue is in a city or town centre, there may be different rules on noise allowances and acceptable noise levels than if you are in a suburban or rural area. Your licence will outline the acceptable noise levels and curfew if there is one that affects your business.

We can also work with you, the authorities and expert noise consultants to find a solution that will allow you to carry on trading effectively without causing a nuisance. Get in touch to see how we can help you avoid noise complaints and help you to assess the noise levels of your business.


Criminal Prosecution

Proceeding undertaken in a proper Court on behalf of the public with the prupose of convicting guilty defendants and dispensing appropriate punishment.

Magistrates’ Court

In England and Wales, a magistrates' court is a lower court, where all the criminal proceedings start and some civil matter including appeals against decisions of local licensing authorities.

Noise Abatement Notice

where a local authority is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists, or is likely to occur or recur, the local authority shall serve an abatement notice imposing all or any of the following requirements:

  1. requiring the abatement of the nuisance or prohibiting or restricting its occurrence or recurrence;
  2. requiring the execution of such works, and the taking of such other steps, as may be necessary for any of those purposes


In this context we mean a statutory nuisance which can be noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance (see section 79 pf the Environmental Protection Act 1990)