Breaking news: Nigel Mansell wins go-kart noise appeal

PUBLISHED: 13:33 27 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:56 15 June 2010

EAST Devon District Council is considering its position this week after a judge quashed a noise abatement notice on Mansell Raceway s karting circuit at Dunkeswell.

EAST Devon District Council is 'considering its position' this week after a judge quashed a noise abatement notice on Mansell Raceway's karting circuit at Dunkeswell.EDDC's Environmental Health team had issued the notice insisting the track, owned by Mansell Raceway Ltd., could not operate unless the number of noisy events was reduced. The location of the track was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1991, but karting in some form has been permitted there since 1971.On Friday, a Judge sitting at Exeter Magistrates' Court gave his decision on an appeal lodged by the karting track against a noise abatement notice served by the Council. In his judgement, District Judge Paul Farmer said he had "considerable sympathy for both the residents who are clearly affected by the noise from the kart circuit and for the Appellants, who have sought to operate the circuit in accordance with the planning permissions granted in their favour".He went on: "There is no doubt that the residents of Sheldon do experience, particularly at weekends and when the wind direction results in the noise being blown directly towards them, a substantial amount of noise from the activities at the circuit and clearly this has an impact on the way in which they are able to utilise their own homes. "Their concerns about the proposals for the circuit has meant as indicated by the 'Cancel Mansell' campaign a heightened awareness of all that has been happening at the circuit".But the Judge added: "It seems that the Appellants have always sought to operate the circuit in accordance with the permissions granted to them, have made a substantial investment in an acoustic fence and were prepared to adopt Mr Dixon's [EDDC's acoustic consultant] proposals to reduce the noise level of the leisure karts. There is no suggestion that I could find that they sought to deliberately annoy their neighbours in any way. Everything they have done has been done reasonably and in accordance with the permissions granted to them".The Judge concluded: "I cannot find to the appropriate standard for the Council to satisfy the court that a statutory nuisance exists." The Judge therefore allowed the appeal and quashed EDDC's noise abatement notice.Despite finding in favour of the appellants, the Judge did not award costs against the Council, agreeing with EDDC's legal team that this would not be appropriate.The council is currently consulting with legal advisers on the content of the judgement before it decides whether to keep going or let the matter drop.Speaking after the judgement, Councillor Miss Jill Elson, EDDC's Portfolio Holder Communities, said: "We are disappointed that the Judge could not support us on this occasion. The fact that he did not award costs against us is an indication that this was quite a close call. We are only sorry that we have been unable to protect the community from what we consider to be higher than reasonable levels of noise.

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