The Government is sounding out views on new draft guidance to curb noise from late-night pubs and clubs.
From October 2006, the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act will make it an offence for licensed premises to create excessive noise between 23.00 and 07.00.
Transgressors face fines of between £500 to a maximum £5,000.
These new regulations are being proposed by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs because the existing Noise Act (1996) only deals with late-night noise from residential buildings.
Pubs and clubs that took advantage of extended opening hours last year are currently exempt.
"In the past, excessive noise from pubs and clubs had to be on-going for any offence to take place," said Ben Bradshaw, local environment minister.
"With the new powers, local authorities can deal with one-off incidents of excessive noise from licensed premises in the same way they can from households: quickly and effectively."
Mark Hastings, director of communications at the British Beer and Pub Association, was unconvinced the new powers were needed.
The consultation on the draft guidance and the acceptable level of permitted noise - which closes on 15 September - can be viewed here >> By Alix Young