Tony's Soapbox - not just about motorsport
If you have already browsed the site you may have noticed an interest in motorsport photography which began in the early seventies. You may also have heard about the injunction granted to people who chose to come and live hundreds of metres from Croft Circuit. The Circuit was granted full planning permission in 1963 and since 1997 had operated under a section 106 planning agreement - they had voluntarily agreed to limit themselves to the number of days when they operate. This was accepted by a government planning inspector who made visits to the circuit, took evidence from numerous witnesses and came to a measured conclusion after much consideration. The noisier the days the fewer of them there were. The sound is measured at a distance of 10 metres from the track and the hour with the loudest average sound level is what sets the rating for the day. N5 is like traffic noise and these days are unlimited. N4 is 78 dB(A) and was restricted to 110 days a year whilst N3 is 85 bD (A) and was restricted to 70 days a year. N2 and N1 were proportionally louder and were restricted to 40 and 10 days.
Apologies for a brief physics lesson here but I hope it will help. If the distance from the source of the sound is doubled, the sound energy is spread over four times the area so the sound energy at any point is reduced to one quarter. This is a 6dB loss. So every time you double the distance from the sound, the level at the new position is reduced by 6dB. The sound is measured at 10 metres from the track so keep doubling that and eventually you come to 320 metres. At this distance the drop in level would be 30 dB. At 320 metres the average noisiest hour for N4 is 48 dB(A) and for N3 it is 55 dB(A). To most people this is just figures, so what does it mean in practice ? As a point of comparison our dishwasher is rated at 53 dB and is hardly a blight on our lives.
In the original court case the action was on nuisance, presumably noise nuisance yet the judge didn't feel he needed to hear the evidence of noise experts. The appeal court found there was nothing wrong with this. Along with many other people, I'd like someone clever to explain that to me.
When we moved next to Croft in 1982 our solicitor said of the circuit, "It may have been sold to a farmer but if it changes hands or he just changes his mind you could have Brands Hatch on your doorstep tomorrow." We paid for good advice and considered it carefully when choosing where we wished to live.
Why is it that some people now move into an area and decide to try to put a stop to activities that have been going on for years, decades or even longer ? And why do we allow it to happen? It isn't just motorsport that's affected but children's playgrounds, schools, the village cricket team, the farmer's cock and even the church bells which have rung for centuries.
And the last person to silence the church bells ? Why Adolf Hitler himself.
Just a thought, but perhaps people should be more careful where they choose to live. Wouldn't it save a lot of money and upset ?
You may be interested to know that the two main objectors have now left the neighbourhood. The injunction remains. I make no comment.
As I write this in August 2013, Croft have been allowed an additional 50 days per year, between Monday & Friday at noise level N3. Small mercies or should we not rock the boat ?