Campaign for Agent of Change takes huge step forward

10 January 2018 was an important day for Music Venue Trust, our network of Grassroots Music Venues and everyone who supports our work. Over three years ago we introduced the concept of Agent of Change into the UK (following its success in Australia) with Frank Turner fronting a campaign to make Agent of Change a part of UK Law. Over the past few years we have helped build a collective voice as partner organisations such as UK Music and The Musicians’ Union have taken on the cause. We have been working together to raise support for John Spellar MP’s Ten Minute Rule Bill prior to its reading in Parliament on 10 January.

Further music industry bodies have backed the Bill while cross-party support has built in Parliament and artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Chrissie Hynde, Craig David, Sandie Shaw, Ray Davies, Feargal Sharkey and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason have publicly supported the cause. Music Venue Trust patrons including Billy Bragg, John Robb, Jeremy Pritchard (Everything Everything), Frank Turner, Rhoda Dakar and David Gedge (The Wedding Present) have lent us their voices to help gain further traction.

The Bill was read in Parliament and no objections were raised. A huge list of sponsors of the Bill accompanied the first reading, meaning that this can now progress to a second reading on 19 January. Music Venue Trust would like to thank everyone who has supported the campaign so far and encourage anyone who has not yet done so to write to their MP to ask them to support the Bill.

John Spellar presents Agent of Change

10th January 2018


We need you to help us make AGENT OF CHANGE a reality in UK Law.

Since 2015, Music Venue Trust has been campaigning for the UK government to introduce Agent of Change into UK Law. John Spellar MP is introducing a Private Members Bill on 10 January 2018 which would make Agent of Change a reality.

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.

Read our definitive guide to Agent of Change here.

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. 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. This is unfair and unreasonable. John Spellar’s Bill will stop it.

We need to send a strong and powerful message to Parliament that the UK’s Grassroots Music Venues are important to our local communities and to our music industry. It’s simple common sense to protect music venues from people moving into new flats next door and complaining they can hear music, and to insist that developers who want to build next door to music venues take the responsibility of making sure our music venues can continue to be in our towns and cities.

Write to your MP

Find your MP here and write to them, asking them to support John Spellar’s Bill

Click ‘Send a Message’ and copy and paste this text or type your own similar message:

As a local voter in your constituency, I’m asking you to please support John Spellar’s Private Member’s Bill to introduce AGENT OF CHANGE into UK Law. Our local Grassroots Music Venues deserve common sense protections to ensure we don’t let bad development kill live music. Please speak up for this bill on behalf of your constituents.

Use Social Media

Take to social media and tag artists, record labels, managers, festivals and promoters asking them to use their public profiles to support this bill using the tag #AGENTOFCHANGE.

Suggested Tweet/messaging (copy & paste):

UK Parliament: Act NOW
UK Parliament Act NOW: Back the John Spellar Agent of Change Bill & protect live music
#SaveLiveMusic #AgentofChange

NME: Music legends protest at Westminster to save small UK live music venues

Billy Bragg, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Everything Everything and many more from the world of music and politics descended upon Westminster to protest to stop the closure of independent live music venues across the UK.

I am very pleased that my Agent of Change Bill passed its first hurdle today in the House of Commons.

Now on to Friday…

Posted by John Spellar on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

John Robb on BBC Breakfast

Music Venue Trust patron John Robb with OneDa aka Flowchild and Michael Dugher of UK Music on BBC One Breakfast yesterday discussing Grassroots Music Venues and the Agent of Change Bill.

Frank Turner on Channel 5 News

Music Venue Trust Patron Frank Turner on Channel 5 News talking a lot of sense on the Agent of Change principle.