New Sound Guidance for Outdoor Events 2016

This is a blog post to advise you of the Council’s new Guidance for the Control of Sound at Outdoor Events, developed following the Culture 2020 public consultation which took place in January to April 2015.

We have a number of questions that we would like you to consider. These are set out at the end of this post.

Why are we altering the sound levels?

Our new Events Strategy sets out the number of major event days we will have across Lambeth. We have split the borough into 5 zones and have allocated up to 8 major event days per zone. This does not mean these events will be loud but we do want to have a sound policy that is suitable.

We are proposing to have the same sound levels as other places such as Hyde Park or Victoria Park. This means we can have events that will raise income for Lambeth that we can then use to reinvest into our open spaces. For instance a concert on Clapham Common has previously raised over a £100,000 that can then be reinvested into our local open spaces. However, these event organisers are going elsewhere and Lambeth is losing out on this income.

So what is changing?

The changes consulted on in the Culture 2020 public consultation were an increase to the decibel levels for the major event day’s only. All other days will have lower levels as decided on a case by case basis.

These levels will be monitored by onsite professional sound acousticians and there will be easy ways to raise any issues about these events through online and telephone contacts.

The new guidance puts a restriction on the days we can have these revised sound levels – a maximum of 8 major event days per zone. The zones are Clapham, Streatham, Brixton, North Lambeth and Norwood.

Click here for Guidance for Control of Sound at Outdoor Events 2016

Please see below for the timelines and actions associated with producing this revised guidance.

How was the guidance developed?

We have been developing the guidance, with input from local residents and businesses, as well as event organisers, for five years.

February 2011 – A Noise Review Report for Clapham Common was commissioned by Lambeth Council from RPS Planning and Development – including extensive stakeholder and community engagement.

February 2012 – Final report delivered to Lambeth Council Events Service and Noise Team.

August 2013 – Test made of suggested increased sound levels at SW4 Weekender, music festival, on the 24 and 25 August.  Levels were monitored and numbers of complaints also logged to assess the data of the increased levels.  Residents and key stakeholders were informed by letter about the test taking place.

January to April 2015 – Noise guidance part of the draft Event Strategy that was included in the Culture 2020 public consultation.

February 2016 – Updated 2016 Guidance for the Control of Sound at Outdoor Events circulated for one month public engagement.

What were the other options?

Other options were considered as part of the 2011 noise review report, undertaken by RPS on behalf of Lambeth Council, which were taken in to consideration during the development of the new guidance.  These are detailed below:

Keeping Sound Levels the same – this was rejected as it will not enable Lambeth to attract or retain major commercial events.  The present sound levels do not work for major commercial events and so EventLambeth would not be able to deliver those events and achieve the income required for reinvestment.

Reducing Sound Levels – reducing the sound levels from the 2008 policy would significantly reduce Lambeth’s ability to attract major commercial events as reduced levels are not in sync with other, similar locations.

Neither retaining the present Sound Levels nor reducing them makes Lambeth’s Parks and Open spaces an option in a competitive market.

Click here for a copy of the RPS Noise Policy Review

What do you need to do?

Please see below six questions which we invite you to provide a response to, along with any other comments you may have as part of this engagement:
1. Do you live near to any of Lambeth’s parks and open spaces which host music events? If so which one?
2. What prompted your engagement with this new sound policy?
3. What would be your concerns, if any, on the introduction of a new sound policy to Lambeth?
4. Have you had any experience of the current sound policy at events held in Lambeth’s parks and open spaces?
5. Do you attend outdoor events in London? Or in other locations? If so, where and when?
6. Do you support the introduction of a revised Guidance for Sound at Outdoor Events so that we can bring the number of events in Lambeth in line with those that occur in similar spaces across London?

We are conducting a four week engagement period between the 12 February and 11 March 2016 and ask that residents and stakeholders send any comments and responses to this new guidance to, with the subject “2016 Sound Guidance” by 5pm Friday 11 March 2016.

This will allow the Council Events Officers, Council Noise Officers and sound experts to carefully monitor the feedback on this new guidance.

We sincerely thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Yours faithfully,

Lee Fiorentino

Guidance on the control of Noise at outdoor events (2008) (.pdf)
Guidance on the control of Sound at outdoor events (2016) (.pdf)