Licensing Barrister Examines COVID-19 Music Noise Limits Amendments

In an article authored jointly with specialist acoustic and noise consultancy Sustainable Acoustics, Trinity Licensing and Regulatory barrister, Charles Holland explores the enforceability of recent music noise limits imposed on all premises as part of the Government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The article has been written with Sustainable Acoustics' Managing Director and acoustics expert, Peter Rogers BSc(Hons), MSc CEng FOIA FRSA MIOL and is entitled "Mandatory decibel limits in hospitality venues".

Under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Undertakings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, a regulatory amendment was published on 28 September 2020, with immediate effect impacting the already pressured hospitality industry. One of the new requirements is that:
"A person responsible for carrying on a business of a public house, café, restaurant or bar (including a bar in a hotel or members’ club) must, during the emergency period, ensure that no music is played on the premises which exceeds 85db(A) when measured at the source of the music".

This requirement does not apply to any performance of live music.

In the article, Charles examines the legislative framework behind the new music level requirement. Peter reviews its effectiveness and enforceability from a technical acoustic testing perspective.The article concludes by questioning the efficacy of the Government's attempts to convert guidance into regulations, breaches of which give rise to criminal prosecution and business threatening £10,000 fines. 

The article will be of significant interest to those in and advising the hospitality sector and will be published by the Institute of Licensing and the Institute of Acoustics.

Charles is instructed in a wide range of complex licensing and regulatory matters by clients from across the country and is regularly recognised by the leading industry directories:

"He always provides practical advice and has an ability to navigate problems. He is one of the top licensing barristers in the country." "He is an exceptional advocate with fantastic research skills. He gives 100% to every case to ensure the client has the absolute best chance of success." Licensing Band 1, Chambers & Partners 2020.

"He has an eye for detail, is not afraid of challenging situations and has a commercial approach to clients' needs." Licensing, Legal 500 2020.

As well as being a Consulting Editor of Paterson's Licensing Acts and an Assistant Editor of the Journal of Licensing, Charles also has his own blogging website that includes Licensing, Business and Property litigation updates that can be found here.

In response to the impact of the Coronavirus crisis, Chambers' Licensing barristers and staff are committed to providing as much assistance as possible, including urgent advice, resources and support in dealing with remote, in person and hybrid hearings. Members of the team can assist in all aspects of Licensing and Regulatory issues arising from the pandemic and its impact on Local Authorities, Police Authorities, Businesses and individuals. For further details, please contact the clerking team on 0191 232 1927 or by email

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