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EU ruling to rock pub gigs

PUBLISHED: 18:03 30 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

HARSH European regulations could force pubs hosting live gigs to turn down the volume to protect employees.

The news of the latest EU directive to come up for the vote has caused harsh criticism from some top Suffolk live music lovers and licencees of pubs that specialise in the entertainment.

HARSH European regulations could force pubs hosting live gigs to turn down the volume to protect employees.

The news of the latest EU directive to come up for the vote has caused harsh criticism from some top Suffolk live music lovers and licencees of pubs that specialise in the entertainment.

Stephen Foster from BBC Radio Suffolk said he hoped common sense would prevail and radio DJ John Peel said it would make life "intensely boring."

The directive, which is going to a vote on February 19 is looking to lower the level to 83 decibels Currently the law states that at 85 decibels employees have a right to ask for protection and employers have a duty to carry out noise assessment.

Stephen Foster, said: "I have been listening to live music since the 70s and if I find it too loud I simply walk out. If this is to go through it would harm a lot of pubs and cause damage to businesses. There has been a thriving live music seen in the area for a long time and it is something we do not want to lose.

"I just hope those making the decisions will come over here to see what it is all about," he added.

Radio One and Radio Four, DJ John Peel said the proposed legislation has the potential to make life even more boring.

"We will have to wait and see how it is enforced to see just how much effect it will have. But like much European law it has the potential to make life intensely boring," added the Stowmarket DJ.

And pubs in the area are hitting out at draconian new legislation which proposes to lower the acceptable level of noise in venues and threaten their livelihoods.

Ray Parr, landlord at The Haven, in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, urged all business people involved in the industry to lobby their MEPs.

"This will be unworkable and unless we do something now it will be too late.

Everybody needs to get on to their MEP because we are going to be seriously affected," he said.

Also in Ipswich, Adrian Smith, landlord at the Milestone, in Woodbridge Road, said this would devastate his business.

"When we heard about this we used the meter we have in the pub to measure the level when we had only a few people at the bar chatting. It reached 86 decibels and this just shows how ridiculous this new directive would be.

"This is Europe going crazy. Live music is a very big part of our business and they do not understand the pub culture in this country. When we have bands the average reading is around 90 to 95 decibels.

"Will we get compensation for the loss of our livelihood if this goes through? That is what I would like to know," he said angrily.

In Stowmarket Eileen Philpott, landlady of The Pickerel pub since November, said: "The noise level would be so low you would have to go round telling your customers to be quiet even without a band."

The Pickerel has live music every Friday night and has a noise abatement order dealing with excess sound outside the pub from when the previous licencees were there. In the last three months there has been no problems reported, Mrs Philpott added.

Health and Safety expert National Britannia has studied noise levels in pubs and found that as a general rule if you have to raise your voice to be heard a metre away you are probably close to the current action level of 85 decibels. This gives some indication of the impact the new directive would have.

PubMaster is also opposed to the new moves and a spokeswoman said the industry has enough to deal with already.

Elaine Reed, said: "We are totally opposed to this. We believe there is already sufficient legislation under the local authorities to control noise levels. We see no requirement for what would be simply unworkable legislation in an already highly regulated industry."

Robert Humphreys, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group said: "Every single pub with music will be at risk from this legislation."

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