Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


PELs for beginners

Related threads:
How old is Brit trad of music in pubs? (88)
PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas (101)
PEL: demo - pictures (14)
BS: Is Kim Howells an arsehole? (65)
Licensing Bill - How will it work ? (331)
Weymouth Folk Festival (UK) (120)
A little more news on Licensing (158)
Killed by the PEL system Part 2 (93)
The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs (55)
PEL Problems in Hull (39)
PELs: Are we over-reacting? (74)
Circus PELs - I told you so! (16)
PEL Mk II: UK Government at it again (24)
PEL stops session in Cheshire (78)
Lyr Add: PEL Song: A PEL Protest (Julie Berrill) (27)
PELs - Letters to important folk. (50)
Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs (506) (closed)
PEL: Architect)?) Andrew Cunningam (11)
Licensing Bill moves on -OUR FUTURE (286) (closed)
UK Government to license Morris Dancing (68) (closed)
EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs. (38)
PEL: Doc Roew gets through to Minister !!! (11)
PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show. (106)
From Eliza Carthy & Mike Harding PELs (36)
Common's Early Day Motion 331 (new)(PEL) (69)
DANCING OUTBREAK! and definition. PELs (16)
PEL threads. links to all of them. (50)
BS: Village Greens and licences (3) (closed)
PEL's: News Blackout! (53)
PEL: Billy Bragg BBC1 Monday nite (17)
PELs: Exemptions? (107)
Petition Clarification (PELs) (9)
PEL debate on BBC TV Now. (6)
further 'dangers' with the PEL (24)
Stupid Music Law. (8)
Howells (now) asks for help PELs (68)
PEL : MPs' replies to your e-mails (40)
PEL: Where does Charles Kennedy stand? (10)
PEL: NCA Campaign free Seminar (18)
PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT! (45)
PEL : Hardcopy Petition (44)
PELs Government v MU & lawyers (48)
PEL Pages (5)
Human Rights Committee AGREES! PELs (20)
Churches now exempt from PELs (55)
Lyr Add: PEL 'Freedom to sing' song (12)
Lyr Add: PEL Protest song (14)
Can YOU help The Blue Bell session? (9)
PEL: Urgent soundbites - CBC interview (25)
BS: Kim Howells, but NOT PELS for a change (8) (closed)
PEL: Billy Bragg on Question Time 6th Feb (15)
Kim Howells (PEL) (85)
PEL - A Reply From An MP. (22)
BS: What is PEL? (3) (closed)
PEL - 'Demo' Fleetwood 30th Jan 2003 (25)
PEL – Robb Johnson on R3, 1215h, 26/1. (8)
New PEL. An alternative argument. (31)
PEL: DEMO 27 JANUARY 2003 (95)
PEL: VERY URGENT - CONTACT yr MP TODAY (46)
Poet against PEL - welcome Simon (10)
PEL: First Lord's defeat of the bill (10)
PEL - 'Demo' Fleetwood 23rd Jan (5)
kim howells does it again (PEL) (69)
PEL UK - Unemployed Artist Dancer - look (22)
PEL hit squads! (16)
PEL: Latest rumour/lie? It's gone away? (3)
PEL: but not music (9)
Folking Lawyers (PEL) (26)
MU campaign - Freedom of Expression (36)
PEL- Enforcement: How? (8)
PEL: Inner working of Minister's minds? (9)
PROTEST DEMO WITH GAG (PEL) (10)
PEL: What activities to be criminalised? (29)
A Criminal Conviction for Christmas? (PEL) (45)
PEL - Idea (34)
Glastonbury Festival Refused PEL (5)
MSG: x Pete Mclelland Hobgoblin Music (23)
Sessions under threat in UK? (101)
PELs of the past (13)
BS: PELs and roller skates. (1) (closed)
PELs UK Music needs your HELP (64)
Fighting the PEL (43)
URGENT MESSAGE FOR THE SHAMBLES (22)
Lyr Add: The Folk Musician's Lament (a PEL protest (2)
BS: Queen's speech, and licensing reforms (32) (closed)
PELs UK BBC Breakfast TV Monday (1)
PEL: Licensing Reform? (46)
BS: PELs in Scotland (12) (closed)
BS: The Cannon Newport Pagnell UK - no PEL! (18) (closed)
Action For Music. PELs (28)
Killed by the PEL system (66)
TV sport vs live music in pubs. HELP (6)
PEL and the Law: 'Twas ever thus (14)
EFDSS letter to UK Government HELP! (2)
24 July 2002 Day of Action - PELs (77)
Help: PELs & The Folk Image (12)
Official 'No tradition' 2 (PELs) (55)
Is this man killing folk music? (19)
We have PEL - Rose & Crown Ashwell, 23/6 (2)
BS: Vaults Bar, Bull ,Stony Stratford - PEL (4) (closed)
What is folk ? - OFFICIAL (26)
Official: No tradition of music in pubs (92)
UK catters be useful TODAY (70)
Help Change Music In My Country (102)
PEL-More questions (7)
NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK (56)
Nominate for a Two in a Bar Award -UK (11)
USA- HELP Where is Dr Howells? (13)
BS: URGENT UK contact your MP TONITE (18) (closed)
ATTENTION ALL UK FOLKIES URGENT HELP? (97)
Write an Email for Shambles? Part 2 (75)
UK TV Cove Session/The Shambles (24)
All UK folkies take note - the law!!! (68)
BS: Tenterden weekend (and PELs) (11) (closed)
PEL (UK) (25)
Will you write an Email for Shambles? (111) (closed)
Important - Attention All Mudcatters (99)
Council Bans Morris Part 2 (73)
Council Bans Morris Dancing (103)
Day of action for live music 19th July (44)
Traditional activities and the law (13)
Sessions under threat in UK PART 2 (15)
Making Music Is Illegal. (56)
Urgent Help Required!! Threat to UK Sessions (11)


Ed. 19 Dec 02 - 02:19 PM
Nemesis 19 Dec 02 - 07:38 PM
Mr Happy 19 Dec 02 - 08:27 PM
Coyote Breath 20 Dec 02 - 01:30 AM
pavane 20 Dec 02 - 02:39 AM
The Shambles 26 Dec 02 - 01:14 PM
vectis 27 Dec 02 - 09:50 AM
The Shambles 28 Dec 02 - 06:17 AM
The Shambles 28 Dec 02 - 06:19 AM
The Shambles 28 Dec 02 - 06:22 AM
The Shambles 31 Dec 02 - 09:30 AM
The Shambles 31 Dec 02 - 09:35 AM
Folkie 31 Dec 02 - 10:48 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Dec 02 - 02:03 PM
The Shambles 31 Dec 02 - 02:12 PM
Nemesis 02 Jan 03 - 12:14 PM
The Shambles 02 Jan 03 - 01:12 PM
The Shambles 03 Jan 03 - 07:48 AM
The Shambles 06 Jan 03 - 06:46 AM
Mr Happy 07 Jan 03 - 07:30 AM
Mr Happy 07 Jan 03 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 07 Jan 03 - 09:20 AM
Mr Happy 07 Jan 03 - 09:21 AM
The Shambles 09 Jan 03 - 06:25 AM
Dave Bryant 09 Jan 03 - 08:46 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Jan 03 - 01:32 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: PELs for beginners
From: Ed.
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 02:19 PM

I apologise for starting another PEL thread, but have noticed that a lot of people (including me) have had some difficulty understanding the issues.

I found this on the Hobgoblin Music site, and is the best (fairly short) explanation of the issues that I've seen:

"The government have published the Licencing Bill, which, if enacted, would criminalize the provision of most music in England and Wales, unless first licenced. If these laws are passed they will affect everyone involved in making music, and could be absolutely detrimental to music culture in England and Wales. The anti-music provisions are buried in the same bill that will allow longer opening hours in pubs, and as a result will not get much coverage.

Campaigners have been protesting about the two-in-a-bar laws for a long time now. The government has responded to this by suggesting laws which are many times more irrational, and many times more damaging to music.

The new Licencing Bill will make it illegal for any number of musicians to perform in an unlicenced premises or at an unlicenced event. The bill would criminalize any musician who performed at an unlicenced venue as well as the owner of the venue. The wording is not entirely clear but the bill also affects those providing "entertainment facilities" - this could include recording studios, practise rooms and retailers. Venues now needing a licence will include not just pubs and clubs, but private functions - even in your own home, churches, public land, one-off events... the list goes on. Television is exempt, however.

As far as we can see, the only part of the bill that makes any sense is the proposal for a fixed licencing fee. Previously the cost of a PEL has varied drastically from council to council. On the other hand grouping the acoustic performance of a man playing an unamplified guitar in a pub in the same licensing category as, for example, Glastonbury festival may well not make for cheap licences.

We don't yet know how much the new licence will cost - if it is very reasonably priced and easy to obtain then perhaps there will not be as much of a problem, but there is no reason at all to assume that this will be the case. To obtain a licence a premises requires approval by Police, Fire Service, Environmental Health Department and local residents (remember this includes all venues including your home and garden, churches, village halls, as well as pubs).

These new laws pose a real threat because the police and local authorities are known to take the licensing laws very literally, however ridiculous, and enforce them strongly with fines,

We understand the need to place some restrictions on certain types of noise or crowd gathering events, but to discriminate against every kind of live performance and make the ringing of church bells into a licensable act is little short of crazy and has to be stopped."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Nemesis
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 07:38 PM

PLEASE put the details of this protest event in your calendar and pass it on to as many people as possible, and please attend if you can.   Just in case .. the House of Lords has confirmed that carol singing will be a licensable event (same license that a Landlord has to apply for!

                        Monday 27 January 2003, 1:00 PM
                           Parliament Square, London
                               Mozart's Birthday
                                  Silent Protest

To illustrate the apalling impact that the Government's Licensing Bill will have on live and community music-making.
Bring your instrument (AND A GAG -medical-type mouth-coverings work well),
but don't play it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 08:27 PM

hille,

who is organising this event?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 01:30 AM

PEL means Public Entertainment License!

After having written instruction manuals for sand blasting equipment I thought that PEL stood for Personal Exposure Limit which it DOES in the States. Like the PEL for silica sand which is 10ppm per 100cfm(or something).

I had been avoiding these threads thinking they referred to something else entirely, Sorry!

This is obviously a serious matter and I shall consider it carefully.

CB


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: pavane
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 02:39 AM

I would love to come, but will be unable to be there at that time :(


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Dec 02 - 01:14 PM

The following in The Times

Letters to the Editor

December 26, 2002

Opposition to the new Licensing Bill
From the Deputy Chairman of the Independent Family Brewers of Britain


Sir, Councillor Simon Milton of Westminster council (letter, December 20) doesn't like the new Licensing Bill. Nor do musicians, nor does the Church, nor even will young voters, when they find the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's promises of all-day opening were never more than spin.

Nor do licensees like the Bill. Most publicans just wanted to open an hour later at weekends, which needed one page of deregulation, not 169 pages of extra regulation.

Landlords want licensing to stay with the courts, who are quick, fair and cost-effective. A remarkable 94 per cent of licensees oppose the Bill's nightmare proposal to subject our pubs to the bureaucracy and politics of local councils.

Who does support this Bill? Why, our MPs, who want more local democracy. They hate dealing with complaints from pub neighbours, and can't wait to wash their hands of them by passing responsibility to local councillors. But it won't make for better licensing, pubs, or public order.

Yours etc,
STUART NEAME,
Shepherd Neame Ltd,
17 Court Street,
Faversham, Kent ME13 7AX.
sneame@shepherd-neame.co.uk

December 23.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: vectis
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 09:50 AM

This is what the Licensing Bill proposes:
110,000 on-licensed premises in England and Wales (pubs, bars, restaurants etc) would lose the right to allow one or two musicians to perform. Case law precedent dates this limited exemption back to at least 1899 for unpaid performers. It was incorporated into primary legislation with the Licensing Act 1961, allowing one or two professional performers.
The provision of one unamplified guitarist, paid or unpaid, once a month in a restaurant would become a criminal offence unless licensed.
Broadcast entertainment on satellite or terrestrial tv, or radio, is to remain exempt from licensing under this Bill. There is no requirement to declare these entertainments on licence applications, nor to disclose the power of amplification used.
15,000 churches outside London would lose their licensing exemption for public concerts - bizarrely this would replace 1982 legislation with provisions dating from 1963 that apply only in London.
5,000 registered members clubs lose their licensing exemption for live
music.
Thousands of private events, hitherto exempt, become licensable if 'for consideration and with a view to profit'.
The same applies to any private performance raising money for charity.
Even wedding receptions, corporate functions, parties, Bar Mitvahs etc are affected: payment to bandleaders or DJs organising entertainment (which may be bands, dance floors, PAs etc etc)triggers the licence requirement. This is disputed by the government, but expert licensing lawyers have confirmed that this is the effect of the wording of the Bill (Schedule 1, paras 1(4) and 1(5) in particular).
A new licensing criterion is introduced: the provision of 'entertainment facilities'. This clearly includes the provision of musical instruments and any amplification where applicable. This would mean professional rehearsal studios, broadcasting studios etc will be illegal unless first licensed.
Premises without a licence allowing live music will be restricted to 5
events per year, a maximum of 499 people attending/participating. Temporary event permissions may last up to 72 hours. 'Premises' is defined as 'any place' in the Bill (Clause 188). That means your front room, garden, a street, park or field, etc etc.
Musicians could be guilty of a criminal offence if they don't check first that premises hold the appropriate authorisation for their performance.
Buskers similarly potential criminals - unless they perform under a
licensing authorisation.
Church bell ringing, except when part of a religious service, would a criminal offence unless licensed.
Organised carol singing, on front door steps or in the street, would be a criminal offence unless licensed.
The maximum penalty for unlicensed performance is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.
The one measure welcomed by the MU is the proposal to cap fees and set them centrally. However, as discussed below this alone will not bring about a renaissance in local gigs.

The licensing rationale, where live music is concerned, is essentially to prevent overcrowding and noise nuisance. The government claims their reforms will usher in a licensing regime fit for the 21st century. But surely 21st century planning, safety, noise and crime and disorder legislation can deal effectively with most of the problems associated with live music?

Not according to Culture Minister Kim Howells. He says the swingeing
increase in regulation is necessary because 'one musician with modern
amplification can make more noise than three without'. Of course it is true that amplification can make one musician louder than another playing without amplification. But that was true when the two performer exemption was introduced in 1961 and had been true for many years before that. The important questions are: does live music present a serious problem for local authorities? Does this problem justify the increase in licensing control? The answer, on both counts, is no.

Noise from live music is not the problem
The Noise Abatement Society has confirmed that over 80% of noise complaints about pubs are caused by noisy people outside the premises. The remaining percentage is mostly down to noisy recorded music or noisy machinery. In fact, while noisy bands can be a problem, complaints about live music are relatively rare. In any case, local authorities have powerful legislation to tackle noise breakout from premises. All local authorities can seize noisy equipment, and they can serve anticipatory noise abatement notices.
Camden used a noise abatement notice to close the West End musical Umoja earlier this year. One resident's complaints were enough. And the police can close noisy pubs immediately for up to 24 hours. The trouble is, many complainants perceive the legislation as inadequate because their local authority doesn't enforce it effectively.

It looks as if musicians are being made the scapegoat for a problem that is nothing to do with live music. Certainly abolition of the two-performer licensing exemption will do nothing to reduce noise from people outside premises.

Rather late in the day, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has just commissioned a study into the noise nuisance potential of the licensing reforms - but the study won't be completed until the Spring of 2003 at the earliest. A classic case of shutting the stable door...

Standardised licence fees alone will not revitalise live music
The government says that standardising licensing fees, with no premium for entertainment, removes the disincentive to provide live music. This change is welcome. However, fees are only half the problem. The other half is the potential for unnecessary local authority licence conditions. Earlier this year, Kim Howells warned the Musicians' Union that if it were to lobby for satellite tv to become a licensable entertainment, this would be 'resisted robustly' by the leisure industry. He did not say why, but the reasons are clear. The industry does not believe government assurances that local
authorities will adhere to published guidance over future licence
conditions. They fear the cost implications of conditions such as monitored safe capacities, and CCTV. (Two years ago the Home Office warned all local authorities not to impose disproportionate conditions. Few, if any, took notice).

The Scottish comparison
Genuine 21st century reform for live music, particularly small-scale
performance in pubs and bars, would see England and Wales brought into line with Scotland, Ireland and continental Europe. Scotland is a good example because public safety and noise is regulated by UK-wide legislation. In that country a typical bar or pub can host live music automatically during permitted hours, provided the music is ancillary to the main business. In New York City, premises of capacity 200 or less are likewise free of a requirement to seek prior authorisation for live music. Noise breakout is strictly monitored by street patrols. In Germany, Finland and Denmark the provision of some live music is assumed when the equivalent of an on-licence is granted. In rural Ireland no permission is need for live music in a pub, and customers would think it very odd to suggest that it be a criminal offence unless first licensed.

The Musicians' Union has argued for reform along Scottish lines for some time. But the government has rejected this option. Our campaign for more live music, particularly in small venues, is supported by the Arts Council, the Church of England, Equity, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and many others. The Union recognises that premises specialising in music, or music and dance (like nightclubs) need the additional controls that licensing provide. But if live music of all kinds is to thrive in small community venues like pubs, an automatic permission, within certain parameters, is essential. We should not treat all musicians as potential criminals. That doesn't sit well with the participation and access agenda of the DCMS.

Public entertainment licensing - historical context
Licensing the performance of live music began in 1753. Its had one aim: to curb rowdy ale-houses in the City of Westminster! The shift towards public safety as the licensing rationale increased throughout the 19th and early 20th century. It is important to note that, compared to today, safety and noise legislation at that time was rudimentary or non-existent. However, in 1899 an important legal case established that where two pub customers (and probably more) made regular music for their own amusement, no charge being made, this should not be licensable. [Brearley v. Morely, 1899, 2 QB 121]
The government's proposals would make even this limited amount of live
music illegal unless licensed.

In 1961 this limited precedent was incorporated and expanded in the
Licensing Act of that year. For the first time landlords could hire one or two professional musicians without a public entertainment licence (PEL).
This exemption was retained in the Licensing Act 1964, (S.182) which is the current legislation. The two performer exemption is known to musicians as the 'two in a bar rule'.

Until 1983 magistrates administered the PEL regime. Fees were nominal and the licence relatively easy to obtain. The sharp decline in live music in pubs and bars began when local authorities were handed control of PELs in 1983. Fees rose steeply in many areas, and PEL conditions became onerous.
The combined costs proved an effective deterrent to seeking PELs. Only 5% of 110,000 on-licensed premises currently hold annual PELs.

Since the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 (HSWA), the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Noise Act 1996, and other legislation which imposes a statutory duty on employers to undertake risk assessments of all activities on their premises, and a statutory duty on local authorities to enforce health and safety legislation where entertainment is provided (irrespective of PELs) many, if not most, of the safety and noise controls available via PELs have become unnecessary for incidental live music in a typical pub or restaurant. This is borne out by the Scottish licensing regime where no PEL is required for incidental live music in licensed premises during permitted hours. Safety and noise legislation applies UK-wide.

However, PELs do provide necessary additional controls for premises such as nightclubs where it may be difficult to enforce necessary measures using subsisting legislation (such as chill out rooms, free drinking water, door supervisers etc).

Safe capacities - a key issue
There will be much debate about 'safe capacities' and how they may set in pubs, bars and nightclubs. Contrary to claims made in various letters to MPs by Culture Minister Kim Howells, there is a means whereby safe capacities are set in pubs or bars now without recourse to PELs. Licensing justices can and do append a safe capacity, on the recommendation of the fire service, when granting a justices on-licence. Noise limiting conditions are set in the same way if local authorities make representations. The power used is s.4 of the Licensing Act 1964 which confers general powers on the licening justices to impose conditions that are in the public interest. Because this power is to be abolished by the government's reform, this means that one important pre-emptive measure that might apply to premises providing non-licensable entertainments (such as satellite tv) will be lost.

The Justices Clerks' Society publishes guidance that discourages the
practice of appending conditions to on-licences, but their guidance has no statutory force, and safe capacities and noise limiting conditions are set in this way in London, Birmingham and some other parts of the country.

I know this is a repeat but this is probably a more suitable thread for the information.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 06:17 AM

http://www.freenetpages.co.uk/hp/trg/SCoFF/weymouth.htm

The above is a report submitted by the officers and endorsed by the members of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. It is the interpretation of the current legislation that is shared and supported by every other local authority in England and Wales.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 06:19 AM

a href="http://www.freenetpages.co.uk/hp/trg/SCoFF/weymouth.htm">http://www.freenetpages


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 06:22 AM

http://www.freenetpages.co.uk/hp/trg/SCoFF/weymouth.htm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 09:30 AM

Vectis kindly poted this in another thread but it make sense to place it here.

This is what the Licensing Bill proposes:
110,000 on-licensed premises in England and Wales (pubs, bars, restaurants etc) would lose the right to allow one or two musicians to perform. Case law precedent dates this limited exemption back to at least 1899 for unpaid performers. It was incorporated into primary legislation with the Licensing Act 1961, allowing one or two professional performers.

The provision of one unamplified guitarist, paid or unpaid, once a month in a restaurant would become a criminal offence unless licensed.
Broadcast entertainment on satellite or terrestrial tv, or radio, is to remain exempt from licensing under this Bill. There is no requirement to declare these entertainments on licence applications, nor to disclose the power of amplification used.

15,000 churches outside London would lose their licensing exemption for public concerts - bizarrely this would replace 1982 legislation with provisions dating from 1963 that apply only in London.
5,000 registered members clubs lose their licensing exemption for live
music.

Thousands of private events, hitherto exempt, become licensable if 'for consideration and with a view to profit'.
The same applies to any private performance raising money for charity.
Even wedding receptions, corporate functions, parties, Bar Mitvahs etc are affected: payment to bandleaders or DJs organising entertainment (which may be bands, dance floors, PAs etc etc)triggers the licence requirement. This is disputed by the government, but expert licensing lawyers have confirmed that this is the effect of the wording of the Bill (Schedule 1, paras 1(4) and 1(5) in particular).

A new licensing criterion is introduced: the provision of 'entertainment facilities'. This clearly includes the provision of musical instruments and any amplification where applicable. This would mean professional rehearsal studios, broadcasting studios etc will be illegal unless first licensed.

Premises without a licence allowing live music will be restricted to 5
events per year, a maximum of 499 people attending/participating. Temporary event permissions may last up to 72 hours. 'Premises' is defined as 'any place' in the Bill (Clause 188). That means your front room, garden, a street, park or field, etc etc.
Musicians could be guilty of a criminal offence if they don't check first that premises hold the appropriate authorisation for their performance.

Buskers similarly potential criminals - unless they perform under a
licensing authorisation.

Church bell ringing, except when part of a religious service, would a criminal offence unless licensed.

Organised carol singing, on front door steps or in the street, would be a criminal offence unless licensed.

The maximum penalty for unlicensed performance is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

The one measure welcomed by the MU is the proposal to cap fees and set them centrally. However, as discussed below this alone will not bring about a renaissance in local gigs.

The licensing rationale, where live music is concerned, is essentially to prevent overcrowding and noise nuisance. The government claims their reforms will usher in a licensing regime fit for the 21st century. But surely 21st century planning, safety, noise and crime and disorder legislation can deal effectively with most of the problems associated with live music?

Not according to Culture Minister Kim Howells. He says the swingeing
increase in regulation is necessary because 'one musician with modern
amplification can make more noise than three without'. Of course it is true that amplification can make one musician louder than another playing without amplification. But that was true when the two performer exemption was introduced in 1961 and had been true for many years before that.

The important questions are: does live music present a serious problem for local authorities? Does this problem justify the increase in licensing control? The answer, on both counts, is no.

Noise from live music is not the problem
The Noise Abatement Society has confirmed that over 80% of noise complaints about pubs are caused by noisy people outside the premises. The remaining percentage is mostly down to noisy recorded music or noisy machinery.

In fact, while noisy bands can be a problem, complaints about live music are relatively rare. In any case, local authorities have powerful legislation to tackle noise breakout from premises. All local authorities can seize noisy equipment, and they can serve anticipatory noise abatement notices.

Camden used a noise abatement notice to close the West End musical Umoja earlier this year. One resident's complaints were enough. And the police can close noisy pubs immediately for up to 24 hours. The trouble is, many complainants perceive the legislation as inadequate because their local authority doesn't enforce it effectively.

It looks as if musicians are being made the scapegoat for a problem that is nothing to do with live music. Certainly abolition of the two-performer licensing exemption will do nothing to reduce noise from people outside premises.

Rather late in the day, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has just commissioned a study into the noise nuisance potential of the licensing reforms - but the study won't be completed until the Spring of 2003 at the earliest. A classic case of shutting the stable door...

Standardised licence fees alone will not revitalise live music
The government says that standardising licensing fees, with no premium for entertainment, removes the disincentive to provide live music. This change is welcome. However, fees are only half the problem.

The other half is the potential for unnecessary local authority licence conditions. Earlier this year, Kim Howells warned the Musicians' Union that if it were to lobby for satellite tv to become a licensable entertainment, this would be 'resisted robustly' by the leisure industry. He did not say why, but the reasons are clear. The industry does not believe government assurances that local
authorities will adhere to published guidance over future licence
conditions. They fear the cost implications of conditions such as monitored safe capacities, and CCTV. (Two years ago the Home Office warned all local authorities not to impose disproportionate conditions. Few, if any, took notice).

The Scottish comparison
Genuine 21st century reform for live music, particularly small-scale
performance in pubs and bars, would see England and Wales brought into line with Scotland, Ireland and continental Europe. Scotland is a good example because public safety and noise is regulated by UK-wide legislation. In that country a typical bar or pub can host live music automatically during permitted hours, provided the music is ancillary to the main business.

In New York City, premises of capacity 200 or less are likewise free of a requirement to seek prior authorisation for live music. Noise breakout is strictly monitored by street patrols. In Germany, Finland and Denmark the provision of some live music is assumed when the equivalent of an on-licence is granted. In rural Ireland no permission is need for live music in a pub, and customers would think it very odd to suggest that it be a criminal offence unless first licensed.

The Musicians' Union has argued for reform along Scottish lines for some time. But the government has rejected this option. Our campaign for more live music, particularly in small venues, is supported by the Arts Council, the Church of England, Equity, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and many others.

The Union recognises that premises specialising in music, or music and dance (like nightclubs) need the additional controls that licensing provide. But if live music of all kinds is to thrive in small community venues like pubs, an automatic permission, within certain parameters, is essential. We should not treat all musicians as potential criminals. That doesn't sit well with the participation and access agenda of the DCMS.

Public entertainment licensing - historical context
Licensing the performance of live music began in 1753. Its had one aim: to curb rowdy ale-houses in the City of Westminster! The shift towards public safety as the licensing rationale increased throughout the 19th and early 20th century. It is important to note that, compared to today, safety and noise legislation at that time was rudimentary or non-existent. However, in 1899 an important legal case established that where two pub customers (and probably more) made regular music for their own amusement, no charge being made, this should not be licensable. [Brearley v. Morely, 1899, 2 QB 121]

The government's proposals would make even this limited amount of live
music illegal unless licensed.

In 1961 this limited precedent was incorporated and expanded in the
Licensing Act of that year. For the first time landlords could hire one or two professional musicians without a public entertainment licence (PEL).

This exemption was retained in the Licensing Act 1964, (S.182) which is the current legislation. The two performer exemption is known to musicians as the 'two in a bar rule'.

Until 1983 magistrates administered the PEL regime. Fees were nominal and the licence relatively easy to obtain. The sharp decline in live music in pubs and bars began when local authorities were handed control of PELs in 1983. Fees rose steeply in many areas, and PEL conditions became onerous.

The combined costs proved an effective deterrent to seeking PELs. Only 5% of 110,000 on-licensed premises currently hold annual PELs.

Since the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 (HSWA), the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Noise Act 1996, and other legislation which imposes a statutory duty on employers to undertake risk assessments of all activities on their premises, and a statutory duty on local authorities to enforce health and safety legislation where entertainment is provided (irrespective of PELs) many, if not most, of the safety and noise controls available via PELs have become unnecessary for incidental live music in a typical pub or restaurant. This is borne out by the Scottish licensing regime where no PEL is required for incidental live music in licensed premises during permitted hours. Safety and noise legislation applies UK-wide.

However, PELs do provide necessary additional controls for premises such as nightclubs where it may be difficult to enforce necessary measures using subsisting legislation (such as chill out rooms, free drinking water, door supervisers etc).

Safe capacities - a key issue
There will be much debate about 'safe capacities' and how they may set in pubs, bars and nightclubs. Contrary to claims made in various letters to MPs by Culture Minister Kim Howells, there is a means whereby safe capacities are set in pubs or bars now without recourse to PELs.

Licensing justices can and do append a safe capacity, on the recommendation of the fire service, when granting a justices on-licence. Noise limiting conditions are set in the same way if local authorities make representations. The power used is s.4 of the Licensing Act 1964 which confers general powers on the licening justices to impose conditions that are in the public interest. Because this power is to be abolished by the government's reform, this means that one important pre-emptive measure that might apply to premises providing non-licensable entertainments (such as satellite tv) will be lost.

The Justices Clerks' Society publishes guidance that discourages the
practice of appending conditions to on-licences, but their guidance has no statutory force, and safe capacities and noise limiting conditions are set in this way in London, Birmingham and some other parts of the country.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 09:35 AM

Oops! I must apolgise for I did not notice that it already was here.

I must have been looking at an ealier cached version of this thread. or I have just finally flipped......?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Folkie
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 10:48 AM

I'm a bit confused about the issues involved in PELs. Surely it has always been necessary for a pub to have a licence for music, singing and dancing for such activities to take place there. Is the PEL going to be different or more expensive than the previous form of licensing? Perhaps someone could enlighten me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 02:03 PM

I think if you look back in this thread you will see these questions answered.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 02:12 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall. - For circulation.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for the Licensing Bill, has responded to recent enquiries from members of the public concerned about the implications for live music.

The DCMS letters present what appears to be a reasonable package of reforms - provided the reader lacks a detailed knowledge of the contents of the Bill, a clear understanding of the operation of the present PEL regime, or a clear understanding of the subsisting framework of public safety, noise and crime and disorder legislation.

What the DCMS statements leave out is, of course, also significant. When the missing information is filled in, the DCMS arguments begin to look less convincing.

In response to various requests for clarification, I have taken a recent example from the DCMS replies and introduced my own observations. These will, I hope, explain why the Musicians' Union is opposing key elements of the government's proposed reforms, and why it continues to argue for an automatic permission for live music in licensed premises such as bars and restaurants, within certain parameters (such as performance times).

Similar regimes operate successfully in Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, France and Finland. The Scottish comparison is the most significant since the public safety and noise legislation which regulates performance in this context applies UK-wide. The MU accepts, however, that premises specialising in music, or music and dance (such as nightclubs) may need the exceptional level of control that licensing requires.

The Licensing Bill treats all live music as if it were potentially as lethal as asbestos. This is not only ridiculous, but is a licensing regime liable to abuse by local authorities, and ill behoves a civilised nation.

Robin Allen QC, who is advising the MU on the Licensing Bill, has concluded not only that the government's present approach is 'very clearly incompatible with Article 10' [of the European Convention - i.e. freedom of expression], but also that: 'Where live music is concerned, the current Licensing Bill before Parliament is in many respects nonsensical and over-regulatory.

It represents an overwhelmingly unjustified interference in the fun, livelihood and cultural life in England and Wales.' There is a more detailed explanation of the Article 10 issues on the MU website: www.musiciansunion.org.uk, and follow links to the Two in a Bar section.

Mr Allen's views are not simply those you might expect from a retained legal adviser. They are shared by the newly-formed, independent lobby group 'Performer-Lawyers', most of whom are amateur musicians.

In 1976 the UK government signed up to an international convention which, among other things, imposed a duty to create an environment in which everyone can participate in the cultural life of the community (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 15). This would include a duty not only to cherish existing traditional musical forms, but also to create social and economic conditions that allow for the natural development of new forms. This means, at least, making it as easy as possible for musicians, be they amateur or professional, beginner or seasoned performer, to congregate together to make music in premises that are already the focal point of the community.

However, even if the government's Licensing Bill resulted in a ten-fold increase in the number of licensed premises where more than two musicians could perform (i.e. to 50%), that would still leave 50% where a performance by one unamplified singer would be a criminal offence. Combatting social exclusion through the arts was one of this government's key aims, but with the Bill in its present form, it is quite likely that the unlicensed premises would be in the very communities where it is most important to provide the infrastructure for musical participation and access.

Unless significantly amended, the present Licensing Bill would be a cultural straitjacket.

The DCMS letter below was sent on 13 December 2002.

Dear ....

Thank you for your letter of 26 November to Tony Blair in connection with our proposals for the reform of the current public entertainment licensing laws. I am replying on his behalf.

I appreciate your concerns with regard to the proposals but would like to assure you that the new licensing system would provide increased opportunities for musicians and other performers. It may be helpful if I explain in detail what is proposed. The "two in a bar rule", which is an exemption from the normal requirement for a public entertainment licence, would be abolished for the perfectly sound reason that one musician with modern amplification can make as much noise as three without...


It is true that the 'two in a bar rule' is an exemption from the 'normal' requirement for a public entertainment licence (PEL) in England and Wales. However, the word normal, in its plain English sense, could hardly describe the present PEL regime.

For example, without a PEL, it is a criminal offence to encourage 'community-style singing' in a pub, or to allow a third musician to join a duo for one number, or indeed to allow any more than the same two people to perform during the course of an evening's entertainment. Morris dancing in a pub, a pub garden or car park is also a criminal offence without a PEL.

The PEL regime purports to address overcrowding, noise nuisance and crime and disorder, but it exempts the provision of any amount of broadcast music or sport, or jukebox music, however powerfully amplified.

The PEL regime is, in many respects, an outmoded relic of the 18-century when it was introduced as a crime and disorder measure for rowdy Westminster ale-houses. At that time there was no unified police force for London. Public safety and noise legislation was rudimentary or non-existent.

This no doubt explains why 233 MPs signed an Early Day Motion (1182) during the last Parliamentary session, condemning the present rules as 'archaic and just plain daft'.

But in abolishing the two in a bar rule, and in fact virtually all other PEL exemptions (such as secular music in churches outside London, private members clubs, etc) the Licensing Bill renders public performance by even one unamplified musician, paid or unpaid, a criminal offence almost anywhere, at any time - unless first licensed.

Much private performance is also caught (if raising money for charity, or if performers are paid). However, the exemption for broadcast entertainment, and for 'incidental recorded music' such as provided on a jukebox, is retained. There is no requirement to declare its provision on licence applications.

This exemption is clearly significant insofar as the government has taken a close look at public safety, noise and crime and disorder legislation that applies to premises like pubs and bars, and has concluded that it is adequate no matter how crowded a pub might be, no matter how powerful the sound system, no matter what time of day or night (remember bars can apply for 24-hour opening), no matter whether large groups of excited young men jump up and down in the bar, and no matter that these groups are prone to spill out onto the streets afterwards looking for a fight.

On the other hand, a monthly performance by an unamplified guitarist in a restaurant would require notification of and approval by the police, fire service, local authority environmental health department, local residents, and finally the licensing committee of the local authority. If such a performance went ahead unlicensed the licensee could face a maximum penalty of a £20,000 fine and six months in prison. The musician could face the same penalty, if they had not first checked that the premises was appropriately authorised for their performance.

Now to the rationale for abolishing the two performer PEL exemption. The DCMS claims this is necessary 'for the perfectly sound reason that one musician with modern amplification can make more noise than three without'. Quite true, but the statement misleadingly implies: 1) licensing is the only way to control noise breakout from pubs; 2) musicians with amplifiers are a major source of noise complaint; 3) 'modern amplification' renders the present regime out of date.

Not one of these justifications bears up under close scrutiny:

1    Noise

Ironically, many of the premises currently responsible for most disturbance to local residents will already hold PELs because the licence is obligatory for late-opening. The overwhelming cause of noise complaints is nothing to do with music (live or recorded), but is due to noisy customers in the vicinity of licensed premises. Abolition of the two performer PEL exemption will do nothing to address that problem.

Irrespective of public entertainment licence controls, there is plenty of legislation to control noise, both pro-actively and reactively. The perception of complainants, and indeed MPs, that the legislation is inadequate, is due largely to ineffective enforcement.

Town and country planning Acts allow for the imposition of pre-emptive noise controls on premises. The present Licensing Act 1964 confers general powers on licensing justices which they use to impose noise-limiting conditions on the grant and renewal of liquor 'on licences' for pubs, bars, restaurants and so on.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 all local authorities can serve anticipatory noise abatement notices if they are satisfied a noise nuisance is likely to occur or recur, and all local authorities can seize noisy equipment. The time allowed for compliance with an abatement notice is specified by the local authority and may vary from a requirement to stop the noise 'forthwith' to some longer period, as appears to them appropriate in the circumstances.

Camden used a noise abatement notice to close the Shaftesbury Theatre production of 'Umoja' earlier this year. One resident's complaints were enough. Any breach of a noise abatement notice carries a fine of up to £20,000.

Noise at Work Regulations primarily address employee exposure to excessive noise, but may indirectly bear down on noise breakout. The 90 dBa 'second action limit' currently imposed by this legislation is frequently exceeded by amplified recorded music played in bars.

The dBa scale is logarithmic which means that an increase of 3 dBa roughly halves the permitted exposure time. Many DJs and sound systems provide recorded music at levels above 100 dBa, which would mean that any staff exposure of an hour or less would be illegal without wearing some kind of hearing protection. Local authorities are supposed to monitor and enforce this legislation. A new EC Directive would reduce the Noise at Work action limits to 80 dBa (first action limit) and 85 dBa (second action limit).

Justices on licences may be revoked on the grounds that a pub has caused noise nuisance problems for local residents. From memory I understand the police can instigate such proceedings using powers under Section 20 (A) of the Licensing Act 1964. Since December 2001 the police have had the power to close noisy pubs immediately for up to 24 hours (Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, amended the Licensing Act 1964) .

No doubt this is why the National Society for Clean Air recently reported that: 'In general local authorities are content with the flexibility the nuisance provisions allow. However, for adequate enforcement there is a need for clarification (for officers and the public) and better resourcing.' [NSCA National Noise Survey 2002, p6].

Residents Associations in the heart of London recognise that noise breakout from within premises can already be controlled. During a noise nuisance workshop held at a major national conference on licensing reform last year, John Bos, co-ordinator of the Covent Garden Community Associatoin said: 'We agreed that there were two answers to the questions posed in the workshop. "Can it [noise] be controlled?" The answer is "yes" if it comes from premises, and "no" if it comes from people in the street...the main problem is not noise emanating from premises, it's not music bellowing out with dance and disco, or what have you, it's actually noise from people when they arrive or leave, in the street.' [Open All Hours, Report of the National Conference of Licensing Reform, 24 March 2001, Civic Trust]

2    Noise from live musicians a major problem?

Absolutely not. The Noise Abatement Society confirmed that 81% of noise complaints concerning licensed premises are caused by noisy people outside. The remainder are largely caused by noisy amplified recorded music and noisy machinery.

While it is perfectly true that powerfully amplified live bands can be a problem on occasion, the UK Noise Association have said that it is rare for them to receive complaints about live music. They get more complaints about loud amplified pre-recorded music. The Institute of Alcohol Studies sponsors the Open All Hours consultation, and canvasses the views of residents' associations on licensing issues. The IAS informed me that no residents' associations have ever made an issue of live music. Their overwhelming preoccupation is how to curb anti-social behaviour of people in the vicinity of licensed premises.

3    The two in a bar rule must be abolished because of musicians' access to modern amplification

Wrong again. Amplified guitars were in widespread use in the 1950s. The two performer exemption was first introduced in the Licensing Act 1961. Heavily amplified pub rock thrived during the 60s and 70s. At that time magistrates controlled the PEL regime, and fees were purely nominal. All that changed in the early 80s when responsibility for PELs was transferred to local authorities, and legislation amended to allow for 'cost recovery' fees. The decline of grass roots gigs dates from this period.

... I am confident that the proposed reforms would provide a licensing framework within which musical performance and dance could thrive and develop, while providing adequate protection for the local people in the community.

This unlikely to be true for pubs, bars or restaurants. In September the licensing Minister, Kim Howells, said that if the Musicians' Union were to lobby for satellite tv to become a licensable entertainment (this is not the MU position), this would be 'resisted robustly' by the leisure industry.

Licensed industry commentators do not believe that the existing 5% take-up of PELs will increase significantly during transition from the present to the new licensing regime. The reason is that among licensees there is a profound mistrust of local authorities, due in large part to the well-documented record of over-zealous PEL enforcement. In 2000 even the Home Office officially warned local authorities to ease up on PEL conditions, but few, if any, took notice (Home Office Circular 13/2000). In a recent survey by the trade press (Morning Advertiser), 94% of 1,000 landlords questioned said they would prefer magistrates to control licensing.

The main purpose of this Bill is to allow pubs and bars to open later more easily. In transition most landlords will not want to delay their applications with applications for licensable entertainment that are likely to run into local opposition, and which could reduce the number of people allowed in the premises.

This sector of the leisure industry does not believe for one moment that local authorities will adhere to the government's published guidance. Even PEL applications for unamplified live music trigger conditions such as the provision of door supervisors, the setting of a lower capacity for the premises, installation of more toilets and double glazing.

Stuart Neame, of Shepherd Neame brewery, has estimated the average cost of compliance at £10,000 per pub. Local authorities would argue strongly that such conditions are 'necessary', but unless licensees have £5,000 spare cash, any appeal to the courts over disputed conditions will be out of the question. Far simpler to stick to the non-licensable entertainments, such as satellite tv and the jukebox.

The Local Government Association recently circulated a paper to the DCMS licensing advisory panel, suggesting that if any live music is to be considered, new licence application forms should require licensees to state the maximum number of musicians, where in the premises they are to perform, and when. This demonstrates a total lack of understanding of the way in which traditional folk sessions, or jazz jam sessions, operate. If adopted, this would undoubtedly mean a continuation of the wholly pointless and depressing cycle of local authority enforcement whereby the number of performers are counted by undercover licensing officers, followed by a swift letter threatening criminal prosecution if an appropriate authorisation is not in force.

In order to vary such conditions, such as increasing the number of performers by one, or indeed obtaining permission to have one live performer, an application to 'vary' the existing licence would have to be made. This would entail payment of a fee (amount not yet known), and notification and approval of the police, fire service, local authority environmental health department, local residents, and finally the local authority licensing committee. 'Necessary' conditions could be imposed, with all the cost implications.

Under the new licensing regime, the concept of a public entertainment licence would completely disappear.

That is simply nonsense: the title of the licence is changed, but for all practical purposes its function, and operation, is largely the same. Indeed its scope, as far as entertainment is concerned, is significantly increased, bringing within the licensing regime for the first time 15,000 churches outside London, all 5,000 registered members clubs, 110,000 licensed premises such as restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels, and hundreds of thousands of hitherto private events where the performance is to raise money for charity, entertainment agencies are engaged to provide live music or DJs for private functions, or indeed where performers are directly engaged for the same purpose. It would appear that historical battle re-enactments are also newly criminalised (unless licensed), as is horse-and-carriage racing.

Permission to sell alcohol, provide public entertainment, stage a play, show a film or provide late night refreshment would be integrated into a single licence - the "premises licence". This would integrate six existing licensing regimes into one, cutting at a stroke significant amounts of red tape.

Given the huge increase in the potential number of licences to be issued, the increased workload for local authorities, and enforcement for non-compliance, this looks like a significant increase in red tape. As Baroness Buscombe commented in the Lords during the first Committee debate on 12 December: 'We believe passionately that this is entirely against what we were led to believe; that is, that this would be a deregulatory measure. The Bill will give us more regulation, more red tape, and more cost.'

Accordingly, under our proposals, any public house would need to obtain permission to sell alcohol for consumption on those premises and would be free to apply simultaneously for permission to put on music or dancing or similar entertainment whenever desired. The fee for such a premises licence would be no different whether the pub simply seeks permission to sell alcohol or if it decides to go for multiple permissions. There would therefore be no deterrent to seeking multiple permissions. The position row is that many pubs are wary of obtaining a separate public entertainment licence because the costs can be prohibitive in some local authority areas.

This is disingenuous: the licence fee would be no different only if the application to host licensable entertainment was made at the point of transition from the old to the new regime. If permission is not sought at that time, the present right of licensed premises to host one or two live performers will lapse, and could only be reinstated by applying to vary the new premises licence.

As already mentioned, this would require payment of a fee. 'Necessary' conditions, of course, have significant cost implications, again as already discussed. These are sometimes referred to as 'hidden' costs of compliance, and are probably the greatest deterrent to the provision of licensable entertainment such as live music.

Subject to our continuing discussions with stakeholders, any variation in fees would more likely relate to the capacity of the venue so that smaller venues pay less than large ones. The fees would also be set centrally by the Secretary of State to eradicate the wide and sometimes unjustified inconsistencies that presently exist.

Centrally-set fees are one measure welcomed by the Musicians' Union.

The premises licence would also set the hours that the premises may open for its activities, and set fair, necessary and proportionate conditions under which these activities may take place. This would achieve three important purposes: the prevention of crime and disorder; the assurance of public safety and the prevention of undue public nuisance.

It is essential that the greater freedom and opportunities which would be available to licensees and performers are balanced with powers to deal with the small minority who might abuse such freedom, damage communities and bring the industry into disrepute. Under the new regime, local residents would have the right to object to the grant of a licence or certain parts of the operator's proposals and to have their views considered. This means, for example, that any conditions affecting noise being emitted from the premises might be more restrictive after, say midnight, than before.


This might make some sense if the licensing regime was consistent and only applied to high-risk entertainments. But of course it is all-embracing, and is manifestly inconsistent as demonstrated by the uniformly harsh treatment of live music alongside the exemption for amplified broadcast entertainment.

Indeed, since there is no requirement to disclose broadcast entertainment, or the provision of 'incidental' recorded music on licence applications, local residents will be denied any chance to comment about that. The present proposals are unlikely to make any impact on the nuisance caused by people outside premises, and that probably explains why the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has hastily commissioned an investigation into the noise nuisance implications of the Licensing Bill.

Public entertainment, which would be covered by the premises licence, would be defined as music or dancing, or entertainment of a like kind, which is presented publicly for commercial purposes or for gain. Public singing which is not undertaken for profit or gain would not be affected.

Very confusing. The Bill defines music as '...vocal or instrumental music or any combination of the two' (Schedule 1, para 16) and defines 'premises' as 'any place' (Clause 188). 'Entertainment' is defined, among other things, as 'a performance of live music... in the presence of an audience... provided for the purpose, or purposes which include the purpose, of entertaining that audience' (Sch 1, para 2(f)). The presence of any spectators constitutes an audience (Sch 1, para 2(2)).

If the place is 'made available' (Sch 1, para 1(3)) so as to enable the entertainment, and if it is 'to any extent for members of the public or a section of the public' (Sch 1, para 1(2)(a)) then the public singing would be illegal unless licensed.

This presumably explains why, during the 12 December 2002 Lords Committee debate on the Licensing Bill, Andrew McIntosh, a government whip, confirmed that carol singing in public places such as railway stations or supermarkets would require a licence. Expert licensing lawyers agree that virtually all public singing, whether paid or not, is in fact caught by the new regime, although the government denies that this was their intention.

We would not accept that it is the case that certain types of music, for example acoustic, are never "noisy" or that they should be excluded from the licensing regime.

In view of the exemption for amplified broadcast music, or amplified 'incidental' recorded music, however powerful the equipment used, this statement is absurd.

If public music is to be performed at a premises, then the licensing authority would have the power to impose necessary and proportionate conditions in order to protect residents and customers. The conditions would not be standardized. The licensing authority would be required to tailor them to the style of venue. Major venues staging rock bands would be likely to be the subject of more restrictive conditions than a small pub or club which puts on un-amplified live music.

Independent health and safety experts have confirmed that for all but exceptionally high-risk entertainments (such as large numbers of people dancing to music in confined spaces) local authorities already have adequate powers irrespective of licensing controls.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) applies to workplaces where public entertainment is taking place, and might include a pub, restaurant or a church. Under the act employers have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees as well as the health and safety of others who may be affected by their work activity.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state that employers must undertake a risk assessment of their work activity and workplace. If a landlord of a pub employs a couple of musicians to perform he has to ensure that this activity can be done safely. To do this he will have had to, as a requirement of the Management Regulations, undertaken a risk assessment to identify and control any hazards such as the increased risk of fire or the added burden placed on any electrical systems.

Regardless of the requirements or conditions of a licence, employers have a duty to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements of health and safety legislation, and the government has in effect indicated that it believes these minimum requirements are sufficient in every case where satellite or terrestrial tv is provided for pub customers.

Local authorities are empowered to enforce health and safety legislation at certain premises under the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations* [see ref below] 1998 (and previously under earlier enforcing authority regulations). Therefore, if a local authority inspector visits a workplace and finds that health and safety is not properly managed then they have the power to request that improvements be made or that activities stop until the required health and safety standards have been met.

The fire service has also informed me that their inspectors have a similar power in respect of requiring improvements to be made in the emergency lighting and so on. I understand that under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 they can also close a premises immediately if there is an imminent fire hazard.

* Schedule 1 of the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations sets out the 'Main activities which determine whether local authorities will be enforcing authorities' (i.e. of health and safety legislation). Para 9 stipulates the following activities: 'The practice or presentation of the arts, sports, games, entertainment or other cultural or recreational activities except where the main activity is the exhibition of a cave to the public'.

The statutory requirements for employers to undertake comprehensive risk assessments and the statutory inspection and enforcement duties of the local authority and fire service, are a very powerful combination. A lawyer with licensing and health and safety expertise told me that safe capacities can be achieved through this mechanism, without a licence condition. I think this is why Licensing Minister Kim Howells has never claimed that abolition of the two performer exemption was necessary on public safety grounds. He has only said it is because 'one musician with modern amplification can make more noise than three without'.

The Scottish example demonstrates that where live music is secondary to the main business, and is confined to permitted hours, no additional controls are necessary.

The new reform bill would require local authorities to follow rules and procedures. They would have no discretion to refuse a licence or impose any condition unless a reasonable objection to the licensees operating plan has been raised by the police, an environmental health officer, the fire authority or boat residents. In granting or refusing licences, or imposing any conditions, the local council would be legally bound to take into account guidance issued by the Secretary of State. Departure from this guidance, without a good or valid reason, would provide grounds for an appeal to the courts.

This sounds good, but as already explained, the leisure industry is extremely sceptical that government guidance will produce a sea-change in the way local authorities approach licensable entertainments. Significantly, the guidance has not yet been published, and the Lords have already objected strongly that the Secretary of State will have very strong powers that will not be subject to their scrutiny.

As you may know the Licensing Bill was introduced on 14 November and it must now be for Parliament to debate its merits.

Yours sincerely

­Claire Vickers

Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing Division


And for concerned members of the public to continue to make representations to their MPs.

http://www.faxyourmp.com/


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Nemesis
Date: 02 Jan 03 - 12:14 PM

I sent some of the above condensed and bullet-pointed synopsised (?) to my MP who was kind enough to ring me and leave for posterity the message on my ansa phone that he "couldn't possibly read all that"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jan 03 - 01:12 PM

Pretty sure that our MPs have little difficulty in reading their own names in the paper or of reading complicated insructions on how to read the forms to claim their expenses and other benefits.

Perhaps they would like to read their name, alongside the quote in your local press?

You could also write back ans suggest that you (and some others) may be unable to read your MP's name when it appears on the ballot paper.

In fairness it is long but no longer than the guidance notes and the Bill itself, that they will soon be voting in. Perhaps they would read it section by section?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 07:48 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

For circulation

Paul Vaughan is Chairman of the Magistrates' Association in Worcester and Chairman of the Worcester Three Choirs Festival. He has kindly provided me with his view of the Licensing Bill and has given permission to distribute this widely (it will be posted on to the MU website in due course).

Note particularly points 10 and 11 in relation to government arguments that the abolition of existing PEL exemptions is necessary for public safety reasons:


* * *

1) The Government has signalled its intention to remove from Magistrates their responsibility for licensing (broadly alcohol licensing).

2) We have been given no satisfactory reason for this.

3) Properly trained magistrates, formed into licensing committees, have been fulfilling, effectively, efficiently and diligently, a responsibility for licensing for many years. Sitting as a committee of at least three, we maintain that, among many other benefits, this system is corruption proof. I myself am a long-standing licensing chairman.

4) Magistrates hear cases on a daily basis, in which alcohol is cited as a reason for offences being committed. "Your worship, my client was in drink at the time . . ." is an almost daily mantra from defending solicitors. Therefore, there is good reason for Magistrates to continue to make their valuable input into this area of the law. We see the picture (usually in full Technicolor!) from all angles.

5) Magistrates are volunteers. Therefore, all licensing activity by Magistrates has been carried out for countless years very inexpensively, or on an expenses only basis. Apart from full day licensing courts, in the past, it has not been unusual for us to work well into the night on visits to licensed premises; this for no payment whatsoever (apart from the reimbursement of petrol expenses).

6) Local authorities are, in general, delighted to have more powers, and have readily accepted the notion of taking over alcohol licensing, but clearly, they are not going to take over all those responsibilities (formerly the Magistrates') without additional budgetary provision. My Association believes that the costings for setting up new council posts, support staff and so on to cope with the new burden are considerable.

7) We venture to suggest that the imposition of fees on music performance - across the board, from one man in a pub to 500 in a cathedral, is the result of a simple fiscal imperative. Money is needed to enable the councils to take over licensing work from the Magistrates. This has to be generated somehow.

8) Clearly the Government is not going to provide all, if any, of the additional monies necessary and being demanded as a prerequisite by Local Authorities, from central funds ! How simple therefore to impose fees on music - citing health and safety as the plank (or do I mean sieve?) upon which to sail this one up the river.

9) Should this Bill be allowed to proceed - even in an ameliorated form (for example with much reduced fees) - let there be no mistake, once the Bill is enacted, fees would be later variable at a stroke, in an upwards only direction.

10) There has never been a health and safety issue with the Three Choirs Festival Concerts we have been putting on in Worcester, Hereford or Gloucester Cathedrals for the past 275 years, or indeed with those huge number of events which take place as part of the Fringe throughout the City and County. We are already carefully regulated by bodies such as the Fire Brigade, which limits the number of seats we may set out in the Cathedrals, and the disposition of those seats. There has never been an audience placed in peril in our Cathedrals and, to the best of my knowledge, in any other Cathedral in the land. Why then, this sudden rush to "protect the public"?

11) This is 'Yes Minister' politics at play and has nothing to do with public protection.

12) Deregulate licensing by all means - carefully and judiciously - but leave it in the hands of the Magistracy - which have proven themselves safe over many years.

(By way of a postscript, I should add that, as a long-serving magistrate, I am only too aware of the correlation between alcohol and crime. But the practice of tipping all drinkers onto the streets at 11.15pm - many of them having accelerated their intake of alcohol substantially between 10.30pm and 11pm in some sort of race to the bell - is clearly not in the public interest. Many of the tipees are then unable to get into the night clubs (eg. can't afford price of admission, are too drunk, wrong attire/footwear etc) and it is then that the troubles begin. The cost of policing all of this is very high. Ask any police force where the majority of their manpower is disposed between 10.45pm and 2.30am? So, personally, I am very much for the ending of those regulations (permitted hours) which, after all, were originally imposed during WW1 to ensure that munitions workers arrived relatively sober and rested at the munitions factories the next morning. Let people drink up and go home when they please and allow pubs to close when the landlord realises that there are not enough people on the premises to make staying open viable).

With all good wishes
Paul Vaughan
Chairman
The Three Choirs Festival - Worcester
and
Chairman - The Magistrates' Association (Worcestershire)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 06:46 AM

http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/articles/two_in_a_bar01.shtml

The MU's site is now well worth a visit.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 07:30 AM

Also have a look at this one-there's a protest flyer & a simplified version of the PEL main proposals- user friendly for circulation.


http://homepage.ntlworld.com/james.lawton/_private/billstuff/skeletonframe.htm


Cheers

Mr h


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 09:15 AM

sorry, the flier i mentioned above is at:


Folkwebs,com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 09:20 AM

No it isn't...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 09:21 AM

sorry again,

it should be:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/james.lawton/


then click on Lcensing Bill


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 06:25 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The new Musicians' Union website has a comprehensive section explaining what the Licensing Bill proposes for live music: www.musiciansunion.org.uk

Essentially, the Bill makes almost all public performance, even by solo unamplified musicians, a criminal offence without a licence. This could apply to performances in your home, garden, a street, park, pub, church or school, because 'premises' is defined as 'any place' (Clause 188). The maximum penalty for unlicensed performance is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

Your questions imply that you assume licensing is necessary to ensure smaller venues are suitable and safe for live music. The government's position suggests they do not share your assumptions, and they have not claimed that abolishing the present two performer exemption from public entertainment licensing in liquor licensed premises is necessary for safety reasons.

The Bill exempts broadcast entertainment: a pub can be packed with noisy football supporters, jumping up and down, watching a widescreen tv hooked up to unlimited amplification - but no licence is required under the Licensing Bill. Similarly Fat Boy Slim could be broadcast at full volume into a pub or bar (or church) and that would not be licensable. Under the Bill pubs will be able to open 24 hours a day, subject to local consultation.

Even if licence fees are low, many smaller venues cannot afford them. That is why the Church of England has opposed the licensing of all secular music in churches and church halls. The government has now announced a rethink of this element of the Bill.

The Musicians' Union is opposing many of the Bill's proposals because it believes they will not lead to any significant increase in live music in what might be called 'grass roots' venues. This sector is very depressed with only 5% of 110,000 pubs, bars and restaurants in England and Wales currently able to host more than two musicians (because 95% do not hold the public entertainment licence required for more than two). Under the Bill all 110,000 of these premises will lose their automatic entitlement to host one or two musicians. The MU believes that a genuine revival of live music in such venues could best be achieved by allowing live music automatically up to, say, 11.30pm, provided the music is ancillary to the main business. Premises specialising in live music, or music and dance, may however need the exceptional control that licensing provides. This is the position in Scotland, where safety and noise is regulated by UK-wide legislation.

Hamish Birchall
MU adviser


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:46 AM

Good Lord - do you really have to have PEL just because your a beginner at something ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: PELs for beginners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 01:32 PM

Dave, what are you trying to say?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 27 November 11:47 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.