The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Monday 14th December 2009 - Sharkey hits back at LGA

'UK Music chief Feargal Sharkey has criticised a council chief for raising a "moral panic" over plans to change licensing laws around live music', reports The Publican this morning:

'Instead of basing arguments on rational fact and legitimate research, it is faintly absurd that the LGA instead raises a moral panic of sleeping babies being awoken by the volume of heavy metal gigs," Sharkey said.

He was responding to the claim made last week by LGA that noise complaints would increase if the government brought in a new entertainment licensing exemption for small gigs:

In his riposte today, Sharkey points out that live music is way down the list of noise complaints:

"[one study found] twice as many complaints about burglar alarms, three times more complaints about barking dogs and almost thirteen times more complaints about neighbours playing the stereo too loudly than there ever were about live music".

Despite many requests over the past 8 years, neither the government nor the LGA has ever produced any evidence that live music is a significant source of noise complaints. And on 11th November 2009, the government finally conceded that other legislation regulates the potential risks:

'... One reason the Government are considering an exemption [for small gigs] is that other legislation exists to tackle noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour. In addition, we propose to create a power to revoke exemptions if there are problems at specific premises.'

[Written answer by Lord Davies of Oldham to Parliamentary Question by Lord Clement-Jones HL6171, 11 November 2009]


Hamish Birchall