DRAFT MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF
THE COTSWOLD AIRPORT
NOISE MITIGATION WORKING GROUP
HELD ON 26TH NOVEMBER 2009 AT 14.00 HOURS
IN THE AKEMAN ROOM, TRINITY ROAD,
Present :- From Cotswold District Council: Andy Fotherby – Chair
From Wiltshire Council: Graham Steady
From Cotswold Airport: Suzannah Harvey
1. Purpose of the Meeting
The Chair welcomed those in attendance to the meeting. He stated that, with regard to the purpose of the meeting, it was important for all parties to understand the issues from both sides. It is recognised that Cotswold Airport is running a business and has business needs. The two Councils should put forward their views as well, however, as they are the depository of the views of the local community. The Chair acknowledged that, in all likelihood, conflicts between the needs of Cotswold Airport’s business and the views of the local community will be identified. It is clearly important to identify those points of conflict and make every effort to address them.
2. Background and Update on Noise Issues from Local Authorities
Kate Bishop stated that she manages the Public Protection Team at Cotswold District Council. Ray Brassington is one of her Officers. Kate told the Group that her team had been responding to complaints from members of the public about noise at the Airport for some years but that it was apparent that there had been an intensification in those complaints over the last few years. In particular, there is a resident in the locality who has complained regularly about the noise emanating from the Formula 1 testing. Ray Brassington confirmed that he had, for the large part, focused his investigation in connection with this property.
Ray went on to say that the team had received complaints from a wide area. Complaints had been received from villages such as Kemble and Coates and F1 cars can even be heard in the town of Cirencester. The properties worst affected by the noise from car testing are those at Jackaments, closest to the Airport’s rear gate.
Kate Bishop confirmed that when a complaint is made her team have a duty to investigate that complaint under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. She made it clear that some of the criteria taken into account when investigating such a complaint is not necessarily how loud the noise is but how intrusive it can be at that property.
John Freegard, on behalf of Wiltshire Council, told the Group that a similar situation existed at his local authority. Mr Freegard said that Wiltshire Council was fully aware of the 28 Day Rule but this did not prejudice the Council from taking action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Mr Freegard said that matters had recently come to a head. He explained that, towards the end of October 2009, Wiltshire Council had decided that there was a statutory nuisance and made the decision that it was time to take action to regularise, curb and monitor the Airport’s non-flying activities.
The Chair asked Mr Freegard if complaints about the non-flying activities had been received from members of the community or Parish Councils before Wiltshire Council had taken that decision. Mr Freegard confirmed that this had not been the case but he did point out that his Authority does receive complaints from members of the public.
He went on to say that, in 2009, Wiltshire Council had received complaints about non-flying activities from three complainants. In particular, the complainants have complained about motor sports and Formula 1 testing.
Mr Freegard made it clear that, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities have a duty to investigate all complaints and further have a duty to search their particular area for noise nuisance.
Mr Freegard remarked, to some extent, the situation which had arisen was all down to expectations. He explained that if a person lives next door to a motorway they would expect vehicle noise. Equally, if a person lives next to an airfield they would expect aircraft noise. They would not expect motor sport noise, however. In his view, because this has been introduced at Cotswold Airport, it has led to the intensification of complaints.
3. Feedback from Cotswold Airport regarding noise
Lee Paul stated that Cotswold Airport was a business, there was a need to run that business and exploit the estate to its best advantage. He made it clear, however, that the Airport is most mindful of the local community.
He said that, in the longer term, the Airport would still like to support Formula 1 testing. He said that it was a diverse and valuable activity to have at the Airport. Suzannah Harvey added that the Airport was very keen to open up this activity further to the local community.
Mr Paul said that Force India have already tried to book a slot of four days of testing for 2010. This is not yet confirmed but the dates so far are:
The Chair asked about other motor sport related events. Mr Paul said that the Airport was content to waive those events but it did depend on cashflow. He said that the Airport still wants to carry on with and indeed increase some of their non-flying events which are non-noisy.
Mr Freegard pointed out at this stage that it was not the intention of Wiltshire Council to stop Formula 1 testing at Cotswold Airport.
Graham Pitchfork said that the Airport was always looking for income streams but was mindful of the local community. He said that the Airport would be quite happy if it could increase its non-noisy activities and use the south side of the Airport more.
The Chair said that, at the last meeting, an indication had been given that six Formula 1 teams were looking to use the Airport in 2010. If each of those six teams was allocated four days for testing then this would amount to 24 days. The Chair asked if the Airport would find it acceptable if the local authorities restricted the Formula 1 testing days but was more relaxed in areas where events generated no noise.
Mr Paul said that the Airport at some stage, would possibly like to submit a planning application for the days for non-noisy and non-flying activities to be increased. In particular, the Airport wishes to use the showground more. It was acknowledged that this showground was entirely in Wiltshire Council’s area. Clearly, if a planning application is made to Wiltshire Council, however, Cotswold District Council would be a consultee as would the Parish Councils.
The Chair asked the members of Cotswold Airport if they would find it acceptable if the local authorities gave an allocation of only 8 or 10 days at the most for Formula 1 testing. Kate Bishop added that both Councils had felt that a maximum of 10 days for all motor sport including Formula 1 testing would be acceptable.
Suzannah Harvey said that the Airport was quite happy to dispose of the track day. The Airport would prefer to have Formula 1 testing though, as there is considerable kudos attached to this.
Kate Bishop pointed out that there were things that the Airport could do with regard to some of the complainants in order to improve the situation such as informing the local communities as early as possible and provide them with full details of what is going to go on at the Airport. An email to them would be preferable.
It was agreed that if the Councils and the Airport had a clearer idea of when the Formula 1 testing days were going to happen then that information can be put on the front page of the respective websites immediately.
4. Discussion on the way forward
The Chair stated that the difficult issue was the number of days for motor sports. He invited Cotswold Airport to revert to both Councils with the lowest number of days they are prepared to accept for motor sport activities. The Chair also mentioned that it would be helpful if the Airport could remind the Councils of how those events are managed and the number of hours they last.
Suzannah Harvey asked if Wiltshire Council, as the local planning authority for the application referred to earlier, might be willing to be more accommodating about signage and advertising. The Chair said that he would contact the Planning Officers at Wiltshire Council to see how they will approach a planning application from Cotswold Airport and matters such as signage and advertising will be part of such an application.
Suzannah Harvey said that Formula 1 testing had now stopped until February 2010.
Nick Howard wanted to point out that over the last 5 years aircraft movements had decreased at the Airport by 5,000 to 25,000.
Kate Bishop wanted to know a little more about the scrapping of aircraft which now takes place at the Airport. Lee Paul pointed out that it was actually recycling of aircraft and not scrapping. The recycling companies rent land from the Airport for this activity. This has increased over the last 3 years.
Graham Pitchfork explained that activities such as this generate very few aircraft movements but do generate a considerable amount of income.
Suzannah Harvey gave some dates for key events at the Airport for 2010:
The Great Vintage Show – 8th and 9th May
The Air Show - 19th and 20th June
The Battle of Britain Air Show - 18th and 19th September.
6. Date of next meeting
To be fixed.
DRAFT MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF