UK Article: What are the rules on ice cream van chimes? The law explained

As summer is on the way ( not here yet!) here’s an important article via the Northern Echo

There are plenty of ice cream vans are still around today, driving around our neighbourhoods and always on hand to offer our favourite ice creams and ice lollies throughout the warmer months of the year.

Many will have enjoyed a sweet treat from an ice cream van after picking up their children from school or after a few hours at the park.

But do you think ice cream van chimes are too loud these days?

Ice cream van music is legal, but there are rules outlined by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) which means if not followed, they could be breaking the law.

For example, ice cream vans are banned from playing their tunes before 12pm and after 7pm.

In 2013, Defra introduced the code of practice on noise from ice cream van chimes in England.

The document lays out what noise is and isn’t allowed by ice cream vans, according to The Nationwide Caterers Association, such as:

  • No chimes should be operated which produce a noise level in any direction of more 80 Decibels
  • The passage of music played should not last more than 12 seconds.
  • The chimes should be played once only on the approach to each stopping place (or ‘selling point’), only once when the van is stationary, and never at intervals of less than 2 minutes.
  • The chimes should not be played more often than once every 2 hours in a particular length of street.
  • The chimes should not be played when in sight of another van (whether moving or stationary) which might reasonably be taken to be in the street for trading purposes.
  • Subject to those considerations, the chimes should be played only as often as is necessary to let customers know that the commodity is on sale from the vehicle.
  • The chimes should not be played in areas where people may be especially sensitive to their sound.



23 May 2024

Ice cream van owner threatened with legal action for chimes being ‘too noisy’

John Barton was shocked when he got a letter from the council which said they’d had complaints over his jingles

An ice cream van owner has been threatened with possible legal action over the “excessive use” of his “overly loud” Blue Peter-style chimes. John Barton, who runs Harrison’s Ices, based in Lincolnshire, was left stunned when he received a council letter saying they’d had complaints about his jingles.

East Lindsey District Council said there had been reports of “undue noise” caused by the “misuse/overuse of the chimes” from his bright pink and white van. The letter warned him they had a duty to investigate the complaint and he could face possible prosecution at court under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.