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Noise - Environmental - Oval Motor Racing

In February 1996, the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection [NSCA] published "Code of Practice for the Control of Noise from Oval Motor Racing Circuits"; this document naturally it is aimed at circuits used for meetings as opposed to private use.

Recommendations of The Code of Practice

In brief, the approach of the document is to limit the noise output of individual vehicles, to provide guidance on how environmental noise levels can be minimised and to recommend limitations on the hours of use.  The document does not recommend suitable environmental noise levels; therefore the document does not say if the noise at the nearest house is above X dBA Leq,1hr then the noise is unacceptable, or anything similar.  Some of the main points of the code of practice are:

  • The CoP states that duration of an event "..should generally be restricted to between the hours of 10:00 and 22:00" and elsewhere that "In practice, competitors and spectators normally arrive within a period of about 2 hours before the start of a meeting and depart within approximately 30 minutes of the end of the meeting." Therefore the potential for disturbance exists from say 8 am to 11 pm, some 15 hours.
  • Most stock car meetings occur at times when participants and spectators can take their leisure, i.e. evenings and weekends.
  • Many of the potential noise sources relate to significant numbers of competitors and spectators arriving and departing and access roads.
  • For a meeting, typically there would be 30 stock cars in attendance, and possibly as many as 60; with large numbers of stock cars there would be significant noise from the pit area with pre-race engine run ups and testing.
  • With spectators both the public address system and crowd noise, particularly air-horns, can add to disturbance.
  • Many of the sites will have motor sports events on once or twice per week, i.e. a total of between 50 and 100 events per year.
  • The guidance on meeting times is set out above; however, the CoP also states "In noise sensitive areas, additional limitations may be appropriate. Evening background noise levels may be lower increasing the impact of noise from motor sport. Where events take place at this time of day careful consideration should be given to noise control."

    For an existing circuit, the most relevant section of the CoP deals with noise control, is the information on "Physical Barriers Provided to Reduce Sound Propagation". It is stated that "The maximum practical sound reduction due to barriers is around 15 decibels (dB). Good screening should achieve about 10 dB reduction.


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