Noise pollution from pubs, clubs and licensed premises

Excessive entertainment noise from pubs, clubs and licensed premises can cause severe noise disturbance. Find out how to reduce noise nuisance and report a problem

Excessive entertainment noise from pubs, clubs and licensed premises can be a problem, sometimes badly affecting neighbours. Noise disturbance can arise from a variety of different sources from loud music, use of beer gardens and smoking shelters to raised voices and deliveries. However, effective management can resolve these problems and ensure licensing conditions are met. 

Residents living near to licensed premises should expect a certain amount of disturbance but not to the extent that it causes them a noise nuisance.

Noise complaints

If you are experiencing noise problems from licensed premises, we advise that you approach the premises directly to see if a resolution can be found and to give them an opportunity to address the issues. When this is not possible or it is ineffective, report it to us and we will investigate.  

Contact us to report a noise problem. Please have as much information as possible to hand before contacting us.

The council has powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to take action to minimise and prevent a "statutory noise nuisance". An Abatement Notice can be served and contravention of such a notice will be an offence. Monitoring of the nuisance will need to be undertaken by the Environmental Health Team and you will be issued with monitoring forms to help to establish if a statutory noise nuisance exists. 

If you are experiencing crime and disorder from licensed premises, please contact North Yorkshire Police on 999 or 101. 

A guide for managing entertainment noise

Effective management can resolve noise problems and ensure licensing conditions are met. The information below will help managers of pubs, clubs and other entertainment venues to manage sound and avoid noise complaints.


Many events will need a Public Entertainment Licence, even if they are not licensable, so it is best to seek advice from the Environmental Health Team before you start organising an event with amplified music or entertainment. 

If you provide regulated entertainment to the public on a regular basis you are likely to need a premises licence, although a licence is not required to stage a performance of live music, or the playing of recorded music if: 

  • it takes place between 8am and 11pm at an alcohol on-licensed premises and provided the audience is no more than 500 people 

You also do not need a licence to play: 

  • unamplified live music at any place between 8am and 11pm 
  • amplified live music at a workplace between 8am and 11pm, provided the audience is no more than 500 people 
  • background or incidental music 

If you want to organise an event which includes the sale of alcohol (this includes an event where tickets are purchased and alcohol is included in the ticket price), late-night refreshment or regulated entertainment and do not have a premises licence to cover this type of event, you will need a temporary event notice (TEN).  

If you play or perform music which is protected by copyright you may also need a performing rights licence. The following licencing organisations can organise the necessary licences designed to protect the rights of music creators and performers: 

Managing noise

There are three basic concepts to managing noise:  

  • reduce noise at source  
  • prevent noise from escaping  
  • management of the noise produced 

Reduce noise at source

  • the louder the music inside, the louder it is outside, so reduce and set lower volume levels 
  • low frequencies travel more easily through windows and walls without being absorbed and are more likely to be heard outside so reduce the bass levels on amplification equipment 
  • install a noise limiting device, ensuring it is suitable for the type of music you play. The device is set at a maximum noise level, chosen to ensure that noise cannot be heard outside or at nearby noise sensitive properties, and the system is then locked 
  • position speakers away from windows and external doors 
  • lots of smaller speakers that can be individually controlled are better than one large powerful speaker 

Prevent noise from escaping

  • keep windows and doors closed and fit acoustic seals around them 
  • upgrade windows to double or acoustic glazing to contain more noise 
  • fit air conditioning units or mechanical ventilation to remove the need to open windows – these should be positioned correctly and may required planning permission or acoustic baffles to prevent further noise problems  
  • consider creating an enclosed lobby to external doors, allowing entry through the first door which will close before the second door is open 
  • if your premises share a party wall, floor or roof with a residential property specific sound insulation works to upgrade walls and ceilings to stop the transmission of noise may be necessary. You may need to consult the Fire Officer, Building control Service or an acoustic specialist. It is important not to place speakers and TV units on to party structures, as noise will be transmitted directly through them 
  • keep loudspeakers away from party walls and place on an absorbent material such as an acoustic rubber mat which will minimise noise transmitted through the floor. Speakers can also be hung from the ceiling 

Management of the noise produced

  • consider the impact on neighbours and inform them of your plans in advance can help to maintain a good relationship  
  • carry out a soundcheck before the event and set a volume level that should not be exceeded 
  • take quick action to reduce noise if it is too loud 
  • put signs in prominent places asking patrons to be quiet when leaving the venue 

The Noise at Work Regulation 2005 also apply to your premises – find out more on the Legislation UK website.

Outdoor areas

Care must be taken when siting gardens, play areas, smoking shelters and barbecues to minimise potential nuisance to local residents.  

  • place smoking shelters behind a structure or building; close boarded fences and brick walls can be used in a similar way. Smoking shelters should be sited as far away from houses and gardens as possible 
  • avoid loose gravel paths and timber decking  
  • attach rubber feet to chairs and tables 
  • place signs at exits and in beer gardens asking users to be considerate of residents. consider restricting or supervising the number of people using these areas 
  • consider applying a curfew time to limit the use of outside areas 
  • do not allow loudspeakers in outside areas 
  • control customers when they leave the building. Try reducing the volume, changing the type of music towards the end of the evening, or switching it off 30 minutes before closing time. Encourage customers to leave in small numbers and discourage loitering  
  • consider using an alternative exit which avoids residential properties. Place signs at exits asking customers to leave quietly or relay a similar message through the public address system. Door staff should help minimise disturbance by actively managing entrances and exit 

Deliveries and storage 

Deliveries and collections are noisy - the refrigeration units on delivery vehicles, the changing of barrels, the rattles of bottles and collection of refuse can all create problems. Minimise impact by allowing these between reasonable times – 8am to 6pm. Provide adequate internal overnight storage to prevent storage outside late at night.


When buying new machinery such as chiller units, air conditioning or extract ventilation systems, consider noise output and how and where it will be positioned. Chiller units may need to work through the night and noise levels which seem reasonable during the day may not be overnight. Ideally, machinery should be sited so that the building structure provides as much screening as possible for neighbours. If this is not possible, timers, silencers or acoustic enclosures can be used.

You can seek specialist advice from the installer, manufacturer or an acoustic specialist. Regular maintenance of these machines is essential to ensure noise levels are kept to a minimum and you should check whether planning permission is required to install new equipment. 


The Environmental Protection Act 1990, viewable on the Legislation UK website, places a duty on the Council to investigate complaints of noise nuisance. If a noise is found to be causing a statutory noise nuisance by affecting the health or materially interfering with the use and enjoyment of a neighbouring property, a legal notice will be served on the person responsible, requiring the abatement of the noise. Failure to comply with the notice can result in a fine of up to £20,000.  

The Licensing Act 2003, viewable on the Legislation UK website requires that the activities of a licensable premises must prevent public nuisance, which you will have detailed when submitting your licence application. Any local resident or business owner can request the review of a premises’ licence if it is felt that any of the licensing objectives are not being upheld. A review can result in additional conditions being placed on a premises’ licence, including changes in licensable activities or opening hours. If complaints of nuisance are received and are shown to be justified your licence may be reviewed, revoked or have conditions attached to prevent further nuisance. If you fail to meet the conditions of your licence, then you may be prosecuted and/or receive a fine of up to £20,000.  

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, viewable on the Legislation UK website, allows a local authority to make a 24-hour closure order if it is believed that public nuisance is being caused by noise from licensed premises, and their closure is necessary to prevent the nuisance.