What is ‘Agent of Change’… and why is it important?
The Agent of Change Principle is not complicated or controversial, it’s simple common sense: Agent of Change says that the person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change.
This means that an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs. A resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision understanding that there’s going to be some music noise, and a music venue that buys a new PA would be expected to carry out tests to make sure its noise emissions don’t increase.
At the moment, UK law says that whoever is making a nuisance is always responsible for that nuisance. How long it has existed, whether there were any historic instances of the same noise being a nuisance, if somebody moved right next door to the noise and decided it was a nuisance, these are all, unbelievably, currently irrelevant to British law. If a noise exists, you can deliberately move next to it and demand it be turned off and UK law will support you. You can build balsawood huts next door to a music venue and simply wait for your residents to complain and the venue will have to pay all the costs to reduce their noise.
Music Venues are in the frontline of the impact of our current laws, with an avalanche of cases potentially closing down music across the UK. But these are not the only community activities under attack.
Complaints have been made against church bells, a new development next to a speedway race track where the residents don’t like the sound of the bikes, the brand new build next to a farm where the sheep are now, according to British law, too loud and a nuisance. Community activities and cultural activities across the UK are under threat – Music Venues are just the first affected.
Agent of Change has been trialled and tested in Australia and it works; better planning, better developments, people thinking about what exists where they want to live and how they will live with it, music venues and others thinking more about their neighbours.
It’s our music, let’s all work together to bring Agent of Change to the UK.
SIGN the petition here: http://Change.Org/SaveMusicVenues