Law affecting Ice Cream Van Chimes

In 2013 DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, produced a document entitled ‘Code of Practice on Noise from Ice-Cream Van Chimes in England 2013‘. The document lays out what noise is and isn’t allowed by an Ice Cream Van.

Essentially it states that:

  • 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. In particular they should not be played: 
    • within 50 metres of any hospital or similar institution; 
    • within 50 metres of a school during school hours; 
    • within 50 metres of a place of worship on a Sunday or other recognised day of worship


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