Busking Enforcement Policy

Elavi Dowie made this Freedom of Information request to Manchester City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Waiting for an internal review by Manchester City Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Manchester City Council,

Over the last couple of weeks, during my work as a street performer i have been approached by a number of enforcement offices. i have been informed by a Lisa Jones and graham (whose second name evades me) that there is a 25 min rule on how long a busker man stay in one pitch at any time. after which time the busker must move on. it seems that i have been told almost every day in the last two weeks , but when the officers have been asked about the law, bylaw or act which this legislation pertains to, they have not been able to supply said law, bylaw or act. can you under the freedom of information act provide the details of said law, bylaw or act. along side this could you provide the statistical data which show how this act has been enforced. i.e. outcome of any prosecutions

Yours faithfully,

Elavi Dowie

Manchester City Council

Dear Ms Dowie

Re: Request for Information - Reference No: NBH/8ZFJJB

Thank you for your request for information received by Manchester City
Council on 25th October 2012.

Please note that it may take up to 20 working days (approximately 4 weeks)
for the Council to consider your request and to provide a formal response.

If this timescale needs to be extended to consider an exemption you will be
notified and kept informed.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Cath Cryer
Information Compliance Unit
Democratic Services
PO Box 532
Town Hall
Albert Square
Manchester
M60 2LA

Email: [Manchester City Council request email]
Website: www.manchester.gov.uk

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Manchester City Council

Dear Elavi Dowie,

Re: - Freedom of Information Request – Reference Number: NBH/8ZFJJB

Thank you for your request for information, which was received by
Manchester City Council on 25 October 2012. The Council has considered the
information requested and as the subject matter is noise nuisance the
Council is satisfied that it falls within the broad definition of
“environmental information” in the Environmental Information Regulations
2004 (EIR). The Council has therefore considered your request for
information under the provisions of the EIR.

I set out below your request for information and the Council’s response to
your request:

Under the freedom of information act provide the details of said law,
bylaw or act. Along side this could you provide the statistical data
which show how this act has been enforced. i.e. outcome of any
prosecutions regarding the 25 min rule on how long a busker man stay in
one pitch at any time

In response to your request I can confirm the following:

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 Section 80, a local authority
can serve an abatement notice if they are satisfied that noise from
equipment in the street constitutes a statutory nuisance. Manchester City
Council have advised certain buskers using equipment in the street, such as
speakers etc, that in order to avoid causing a statutory noise nuisance the
person creating the noise should do so for no longer than 20 minutes, this
is particularly relevant to buskers in the city centre.

This advice regarding 20 minute performances is not a legal requirement
however where followed and where volume is kept to a reasonable level,
statutory nuisance is unlikely to occur.

Manchester City Council hold information on Abatement notices served and
prosecutions undertaken but this information is not filtered for notices
relating to buskers only.

Formal action following breach of a noise abatement notice can result in a
maximum fine of £5,000 for non-commercial activities and £20,000 for
commercial activities.

If you are not satisfied with this response you may ask for an internal
review. If you wish to complain you should contact the Information
Governance Manager, whose address is Democratic Services, Town Hall, Albert
Square, Manchester, M60 2LA and email
[Manchester City Council request email]

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely

Angela Whitehead
City Centre Delivery Manager

Customer & Community Engagement Team
Neighbourhood Services
Manchester City Council
Level 7, Wenlock Way Offices
Wenlock Way, West Gorton
Manchester, M12 5DH

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Dear Manchester City Council,
Thank you for your reply although you have answered questions that pertain to busking and noise levels i was reliably informed by the to officers mentioned in my original request that the 20min rule or law was definitely an act or law that could be sourced and would be sent to me.

i was also informed that the law in question was not in anyway dependent on issues to do with noise but a requirement based solely on duration and time restraints. therefore are you now saying that this law was never in existence and the information which the officers gave was erroneous?

Yours faithfully,

Elavi Dowie