Musician told she'll be fined £5,000 for playing any instrument in her own home

Fiona Fey onstage at Union Chapel in London
(Image credit: Fiona Fey / YouTube)

UK law can stop musicians from practicing in their own homes, as chamber pop multi-instrumentalist Fiona Fey has recently found out the hard way in London.

"Last week I was served a noise abatement notice by Lewisham Council that forbids me to play any musical instrument in my home at any time," she stated while launching a petition to protest the draconian measure. "I am a musician, it is my job to practise. If I do, Lewisham Council can force entry, confiscate all my instruments and fine me £5000."

Fey claims she was usually practicing between 11am and 3pm in the daytime with her singing, playing guitar and low whistle at 70-80db – "the volume of a conversation".

"The Lewisham Environmental Health Officers (EHO)s stated that volume and time of day is irrelevant," she added. "Any music noise that can be heard by someone else can be classified as a nuisance."

Even if Lewisham Council has overreacted here (and we think it's safe to presume a neighbour may have made the initial complaint that led to this abatement notice) it sets a worrying precedent for musicians in the UK. And with more people than ever working from home, we wonder if this is just the start of it.  

You can sign Fiona Fey's petition at She released her debut album Naive Wisdom in 2021 and you can find out more at

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.