Noise Code best practice guide
The licensed trade is an integral part of a dynamic local community. However, there are various noise challenges to consider, and businesses have a legal responsibility to balance their needs with the local community's right to not be unduly disturbed.
This can be complex and can feel like just another burden of running a business. To assist you to adopt best practice and make the process easier, follow our four-point guide: stay informed, plan, manage and review.
Keeping informed about noise is the first step to ensuring your business achieves the right balance between your needs and those of your local community.
You should be aware of the legal framework for noise, which includes:
- legislation covering licensing
- environmental issues
- antisocial behaviour
- planning and health and safety
Noise can be a problem at any time of day, but the background noise level varies. This can mean, for instance, that noise late at night is more obvious to people living close by. Also be aware that bass frequencies travel farther.
Acceptable operating noise levels will be unique to each business and depend on factors including:
- type of business
- building structures
- source and type of noise being generated
The law requires that your approach to controlling and managing noise is reasonable and proportionate. Your decision making should consider good practice guidance from the Institute of Acoustics, as well as the relevant legislation.
By considering noise early, you will be better able to plan and avoid potential noise problems, saving you money, time and effort.
Think about noise when you plan changes to your building structure, hold events (especially outside) or develop the business in a new direction.
Always remember to consider:
- your existing planning permission, and planning applications
- your premises licence
- other legal requirements
- doing a noise impact assessment
- setting up a noise management plan
- keeping the local community onside
- noise from construction
Key aspects of managing noise are:
- staff training
- operating according to legal requirements
- responding to complaints
- perimeter checks or controls, which can range from staff listening to using specialised metering equipment
The licensing industry is constantly developing to meet the changing aspirations of its customers. It is important to undertake ongoing noise reviews:
- after introducing new equipment or controls
- following a complaint
- after identifying inadequate existing controls