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Pollution control

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6. Noise control in outside spaces - guidance for the hospitality industry

If your business is lucky enough to have a beer garden or other outside space where customers can eat and drink, you’ll be wanting to make the most of that area when the weather warms up.

Outside seating is an attractive addition to any business but the use of such space can cause noise issues for nearby residents if not properly managed.

So be a good neighbour - take a look at our tips for controlling noise from your outside space:

  • Think about the time that your outside area is in use. Even if there are no restrictions on your premises licence or planning consent, you still need to consider the potential for activities to cause a nuisance. Every premises is different, but in a residential area, 11pm is likely to be the latest time that outside space can be used by large numbers of people without causing complaints.
  • Make sure that your staff are aware of procedures for dealing with noise - this includes supervision and management of customers outside to prevent excessive noise.
  • Consider signage in outdoor spaces reminding customers to be considerate towards your neighbours when it comes to noise – also important when leaving the property.
  • Communication with local residents is key - consider dropping round a leaflet with a contact number so that neighbours can give you a call should issues arise.
  • Noise from amplified live or recorded music outside can be a big issue if not properly managed. Let your neighbours know in advance the dates and times of any planned events and take a walk around the local area whilst the music is playing to check for disturbance (if you’ve been exposed to loud music already, wait for your ears to adjust before doing this!). Keep a note of any monitoring checks undertaken. It might be appropriate for music to finish earlier than the 11pm, or whenever the use of the outside seating typically ceases.
  • Make sure that when you tidy up after customers have left, you do so quietly – no late-night tipping of empty bottles, for example.
  • Whilst this guidance is predominantly about noise control, think about other potential nuisances too – for example, whilst outdoor lighting is important for safety, make sure that the illumination isn’t excessive, or shining into neighbouring properties so far as possible. The use of chimeneas, fires or pizza ovens can also cause problems with smoke and odour.


Following these steps will hopefully reduce the likelihood of noise issues but if complaints are received by the Environmental Health and Community Safety Team, we’ll be in touch to discuss the matter. We ask complainants to complete noise diaries and may use monitoring equipment and/or carry out visits to substantiate any complaints received. Whilst every effort will be made to find an agreeable solution, if noise that amounts to a nuisance continues, formal action by means of a licence review or abatement notice may be necessary.

If you’ve any further questions please contact us online.