Court of Appeal throws out motor sport noise nuisance challenge

A man who lives within 500 metres of a Loughborough airfield has failed in a Court of Appeal claim that the local council is failing in its environmental duties in respect of motor sport noise from the site.

Motor sport: Court of Appeal has thrown out noise nuisance legal challenge
Motor sport: Court of Appeal has thrown out noise nuisance legal challenge
William Pickford claims Charnwood Borough Council has failed to comply with the European Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) directive in relation to motor sports activities at Wymeswold Airfield.

He says those activities have caused and continue to cause significant noise nuisance for the airfield’s neighbours.
 
However, first Deputy Judge Robert J QC at the High Court and this week Lord Justice Sullivan at the Court of Appeal have thrown out Pickford’s case ruling that it is inarguable.
 
Lord Justice Sullivan, one of the country’s most senior judges, said that the only decision taken by the council that could currently be challenged in the courts was its decision not to take enforcement action after the operators of the site built an earth bund aimed at reducing noise nuisance 9.3 metres high, rather than the permitted 8 metres.
 
However, he said that the council had perfectly rational reasons for not enforcing the height of the bund, as the additional height caused little planning harm and works to reduce it would damage vegetation that had already begun to grow.
 
He said that the question of an EIA did not arise in respect of the increase in height of the bund from the previously permitted 6 metres, adding: "By no stretch of the imagination could that be described as EIA development."
 
He said that it was now "far too late" to challenge the council’s earlier planning decisions in respect of the site in 2001, 2004 and 2007, which permitted motor sport activities to take place there, and said: "The effect of those various unchallenged decisions is that the activities at the site are lawful."
 
Refusing Pickford permission to take his case any further, he said: "In my judgment any appeal has no real prospect of success. I can see no proper basis for allowing the application for judicial review to proceed."
 
The 22-hectare former airfield has planning permission for recreational activities including vehicle driving, carts, quad bikes, Honda pilots, a 4x4 course and road and rally training.

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