UK Politics

Ice-cream van chiming rules relaxed

Ice cream van
Image caption Ice-cream van chimes: Coming to a road near you

Parents in England are in for a barrage of pester power, as rules restricting the use of chimes on ice-cream vans are relaxed.

The government will allow purveyors of cornets and lollies to treble the time they can advertise their wares via the likes of Greensleeves and O Sole Mio to bursts of 12 seconds at a time.

And they will be able to play every two minutes - rather than every three minutes, as currently stipulated.

The changes follow a consultation.

Ice-cream vans are a staple part of suburban life in many parts of the country.

'Less restrictive'

Vendors play what to some ears are rather tinny tunes to inform potential customers they are approaching.

It is now 31 years since the Code of Practice on Noise From Ice Cream Vans Etc was published.

It does not have force of law, but councils are obliged at least to pay "regard" to it.

Last year, the coalition launched a consultation on updating the code, receiving 57 responses. The most popular of four options - to make it "less restrictive" - had 14 backers, including the Ice Cream Alliance.

Five interested members of the public were recorded as "generally arguing in favour of chiming".

Nine respondents called for permitted chiming hours to be extended beyond the current 19:00 limit to 20:00, although this was ruled out "on the grounds that it would disturb young children's bedtimes and annoy those trying to relax in the evening".

After consideration of the issues involved, the government - as well as tripling chime times and making chimes more frequent - will in future allow vendors to play their tunes while stationary - but only once for each stop.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs plans to implement the changes "as soon as parliamentary time and Defra legal resources allow".

The code also applies to sandwich vans.

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