Today I have learnt two things about a subject that previously I had considered myself somewhat of an expert on.*
First of all, there are regulations covering the use of jingles by ice cream vans.
Secondly, those regulations are changing.
Yes, unbeknown to almost anyone who doesn’t happen to be an ice cream man, for the past thirty one years the ‘Code of Practice on Noise from Ice-Cream Van Chimes Etc. 1982‘ has governed the playing of Greensleeves in our land.
Rather than being law as such, the Code rather is there for advice as to what’s reasonable when it comes to promoting the sale of delicious frozen goods to excited, well-rounded children.
To sum up the guidance, the Code’s key points are as follows -
- Chimes can only be played between 12:00 and 19:00
- Chimes shouldn’t be any louder than 80 dB**
- Jingles can’t be any longer than four seconds
- Said jingles shouldn’t be played any more frequently than once every three minutes
- They shouldn’t be played more than once every two hours in a particular length of street***
- Care should be taken not to play chimes within fifty metres of a hospital, school or church
So the above summarises my first bit of new ice cream knowledge for the day, now for the second – the Code has been subject to a revision ordered by none other than Number Ten.
Yes, apparently ice cream vending regulations are such an important issue as to penetrate the deepest, darkest levels of government and no doubt have also been brought up in emergency Pentagon briefings across the Atlantic.
Last year a consultation was launched in which options were proposed to either keep the Code, make it less restrictive, keep it but take it out of legislation, or to just bin it all together.
Perhaps reflecting the lack of knowledge of the Codes in the first place, let alone a consultation on them, a grand total of fifty seven responses were received which included representations from the powerful Ice Cream Alliance.
Despite the cool response, generally flavoured was the proposal to make the Code less draconian and just let the goodly ice cream men get on with the job of dishing out whipped ice cream to one and all.
As such, the Code will now generously allow the following -
- Jingles played for up to TWELVE seconds
- Time between jingles reduced from three to TWO minutes
- Greensleeves can now be played a single time whilst vehicle is stationary
So now you know, we have a code covering ice cream jingles with knowledge of which you can spend about as long interesting your friends as the jingles themselves should be played for!
* My qualifications include Magnums, Cornettos and the Pizza Hut ‘Ice Cream Factory’
** The measuring microphone should be at a height of 1.2 metres above the ground, and at a distance of 7.5 metres from the loudspeaker. The microphone should, where necessary, be fitted with a windshield and the meter should be calibrated prior to use
*** A ‘particular length of street’ should normally be interpreted as being a length of street between 100 and 150 metres long.