Outdoor events

Many outdoor events, particularly those held during the summer, include noisy activities. These may include music, fireworks, fairgrounds, public announcements and generators. Most events like this are occasional, but when events occur regularly at the same time, noise can become annoying to local residents. Environmental Health can take action to deal with problems like this.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 does not specify decibel levels at which a statutory nuisance will occur. Noise measurements may be taken to determine whether the noise is a statutory nuisance, but it is the subjective assessment of an authorised Officer that will decide whether formal action is needed.

These requirements apply to occasional and/or temporary events. Cheltenham Borough Council had the power to serve a Noise Abatement Notice to control noise if it is satisfied that a noise nuisance may occur or is likely to recur. You should not therefore assume that, having obtained a licence for a temporary event or given permission to use the land, you do not have to consider noise issues. If a nuisance does occur, you may jeopardise your chances of holding similar events in the future.

People who arrange events like these must consider noise disturbance when they plan the event. We are happy to offer advice and to answer any questions. Cheltenham Borough Council considers that residents of Cheltenham can reasonably expect to be protected from significant loss of amenity due to noise and vibration; and to have a qualified professional staff available to assess nuisance.

Planning the event

We can give advice on the viability of the event, siting of marquees and other structures, placing of sound equipment and advise about which neighbours may be affected by noise. The planned programme for the event should also be considered. Are live bands to perform? If so, quieter or acoustic ones should preferably perform later in the evening. A competent noise consultant should also be employed.

The following issues should be considered as part of event organisation:

Music noise

  • What type of music will be played and is it live or recorded?
  • Where will the music be played?
  • What time will the music be played and for how long?
  • Where are the nearest houses?


  • What time will the display take place?
  • How noisy will the fireworks be?
  • Have local residents been advised or invited?
  • Where are the nearest houses?
  • Will they disturb pets, horses or livestock?


  • Where will the fair be located?
  • Will it clash with other music noise?
  • Has the operator been informed of any noise issues?
  • What time will it be operating and for how long?

Public address systems

  • Is the volume controlled?
  • Will it be used as little as possible?
  • Can it only be heard in the area required?


  • Are they necessary - could mains be supplied?
  • Can temporary shielding be provided?
  • Do they incorporate good silencers?
  • Are they situated away from houses?
  • Will they only be used when necessary?

Remember that whilst your event may be temporary it can nevertheless be a source of considerable annoyance and nuisance to neighbours if noise is not controlled to a reasonable level.

For further information please refer to Noise Council Code of Practice on Environmental Noise at Concerts.

Should you require advice on controlling noise, please do not hesitate to contact environmental health.