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Motocross and motorsport

Due to the topography of many parts of the Forest of Dean, the sport of motorcross is very popular.

Motocross and motorsport, though, is an inherently noisy sport and when events are held in proximity to dwellings, complaints are often received.

Proposed sites

Where a site is proposed for usage for motorsport activities, prior consultation should take place with Forest of Dean District Council’s Environmental Protection Service, please contact us to enquire.

This should enable an assessment of the site to be undertaken with a view to ascertaining the likely need to provide noise control measures.

Advice can be given on the best layout of the track to utilise available natural screening, the best positioning of pits and start areas and the use and control of any proposed public address system.

Landowners and organisers should clearly note that there may be some proposed track locations where it will be necessary to discourage their use completely. Factors likely to lead to such discouragement will include instances where proposed locations are:

  • in close proximity to noise sensitive properties, particularly dwellings;
  • in areas where “normal” background noise levels are low;
  • lacking in appropriate natural screening and thus likely to propagate noise over large distances; and
  • in close proximity to existing tracks leading to potential concentration of activity within that particular area.

More suitable track sites are likely to be located on land where there is little impact on the amenities of adjacent areas and local residents. Examples might include locations very close to existing noise sources.

Number of days of activity per annum

Following assessment of the proposed location, guidance can then be provided on the appropriate number of days of activity there in any calendar year.

The number of meetings permissible at a particular track will obviously vary depending on the specific location and local topographic and environmental factors. Restriction of activity to a maximum of 4 days of activity per calendar year will usually serve to minimise the degree of adverse comment and complaint.

Organisers should further seek to produce an annual activity list at the earliest opportunity and provide copies well in advance to Forest of Dean District Council, relevant Parish Councils and potentially affected local residents.

Frequency of activity

The number and frequency of activity days in a particular area display a very strong correlation with adverse public reaction. It is recommended that activity days are separated by a minimum of 14 days. The holding of two-day or three-day events at a track is inadvisable. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 Part 4 Class B permits the use of any land for any purpose for not more than 28 days in total in any calendar year, of which not more than 14 days in total may be for the purposes of motorsport racing, trials of speed and practising for these.

Duration of activity days

  • No racing or practice shall commence prior to 9:30 a.m.
  • All racing or practice shall be completed by 6:00 p.m.
  • In the case of Sundays, special provision may be necessary to avoid inconvenience or disruption of services in places of worship.

Control of exhaust noise

Exhaust sound levels should, as an absolute minimum, comply with the current standards relating to the relevant motor sport, for example motocross vehicles should comply with FIM/ACU Regulations. Organisers should note, however, that compliance with such standards is no guarantee that noise generated by activities will not cause a nuisance to local residents. Equally important factors include appropriate site location, screening and the number and frequency of events.

Public address systems

  • Use of public address systems shall be restricted, as far as is practicable, to announcements relevant to the racing or practice;
  • No music shall be played;
  • The volume of the system shall be attenuated to minimise any likely impact on local residents;
  • The numbers, siting and direction of loudspeakers shall be selected to minimise any likely impact on local residents;
  • In some cases the use of any public address system may be inadvisable.

Dust control

  • Where wind direction and other weather conditions are such that a nuisance may be caused to residential or other properties, appropriate timely steps must be taken to prevent the emission of dust from the track;
  • Exhaust gases from competitors’ machines must not be discharged so as to raise dust.

N.B. Organisers and landowners are reminded that any guidance provided prior to track usage may be superseded in the light of assessment of the eventual impacts during actual activities. In particular, Forest of Dean District Council has a statutory duty to investigate noise and dust complaints under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, 1990.