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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Plan to ban muzak goes to Lords
Muzak drives some people mad
Muzak drives some people mad
The scourge of background music must be banned, the House of Lords is being told as a peer tries to introduce new laws against noise pollution.

Green Party peer Lord Beaumont is trying to win support for his Piped Music and Showing of Television Programmes Bill.

It would force ministers to draw up plans to ban music and television programmes in trains and hospitals.

But supporters of "muzak" say it can be soothing.

Lord Beaumont's bill has its second reading debate in the Lords on Friday.

It calls for background music and showing television programmes to be banned in public areas of hospitals and on all public transport journeys of less than 50 miles.

People should also be made to wear headphones if they are listening to music in hospitals or on public transport.

Raising blood pressure

Lord Beaumont said: "One of the things where they seem to think it would be a good thing to have perpetual music is when you are waiting to give blood.

"A lot of people say it drives them absolutely mad and sends up their blood pressure."

There are plenty of other things I would ban, like lads in cars with their music on full blast
Alison Turner, Ledbury, UK

He said music could be wonderful but there was a downside.

"We all love music as long as it's the right kind of music and we can turn it on and off," he argued.

But Francis Biley, from the University of Wales, said his research suggested background music could make people in hospitals less anxious if it was barely audible.

"They can talk to each other about private issues and patients need to do that in hospitals," he said.

"Hospitals are not the nicest of places and it appears to have the impact of improving the perception of the environment."

Despite his findings, the experiment was abandoned in Cardiff's main hospital.

One patient said she would welcome the music, saying: "We are a land of music. It's better than watching people miserable, reading books and complaining."

It is not the first time there have been efforts to get Parliament to quieten muzak.

Conservative MP Robert Key introduced a bill in 2000 to limit piped music in public places but it failed to make any progress.

Among the backers of the move was actor and author Stephen Fry, who said: "Piped water, piped oil, piped gas - but never piped music."

Lord Beaumont on background music

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