Silence is golden rule for Goodwood in 999

Goodwood’s circuit meeting in September could be jeopardised unless greater efforts are made to accurately monitor and impose prescribed noise limits on vehicles using the West Sussex venue at other times.

Having installed the most sophisticated noise measurement equipment in Britain, at the behest of Chichester District Council, readings from trackside microphones which are transmitted directly to CDC’s offices via a modem link indicated that 36 of 71 track days run last year were too noisy, 28 of them seriously so.

Against recommendations from planning officers to serve formal notice on Goodwood, councillors last month voted by a margin of 13-3 to grant boss Lord March more time to ‘fine tune’ the equipment. Given two months’ grace, he promised “huge improvements” by the time the development control committee next meets in mid-April.

Anticipating some local opposition, Goodwood made enormous concessions on noise to reopen the circuit after a 32-year break, including slashing income by reducing the number of grass-roots sprints and cancelling rallies. The number of ‘Goodwood Days’ (at which vehicles must comply with a 105 decibel noise limit) is now set at just 90 per annum; the total of ‘Road Traffic Days’ (101dBA) has increased to 170. The number of ‘Silent Days’ has more than trebled meanwhile, from 31 to 100. The International race meeting, which takes three of the five permitted unsilenced days, attracted more than 100,000 people last year. As a result of its success, Lord March has been awarded the Prince Henry Trophy for outstanding contribution to historic vehicle preservation.