Dunkeswell Motor Racing Circuit

The Dunkeswell motor racing circuit operated by Mansell Raceway and the Dunkeswell Kart Racing Club is situated on the Blackdown Hills, north of Honiton close to the villages of Dunkeswell and Sheldon. Like many other motor racing circuits, Dunkeswell started life as an airfield and it’s still used by light aircraft and helicopters today. Part of the use of the airfield is for motorsports and this use dates back to the 1960s.  The first planning permission for the use of motorsports on this site was granted in 1971.  Since that time a number of subsequent permissions have been granted.  Historical noise complaints in relation to the running of motorsports from the site date back to the late 70’s and this culminated in a Noise Abatement Notice being served in 2008.  This notice was successfully appealed and subsequently through a legal challenge an agreement was reached in 2010 under s.106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 between, Mansell Raceway, Dunkeswell Kart Racing Club and East Devon District Council (the S. 106 Agreement). 

S.106 Agreement

This S.106 Agreement sets out a number of planning obligations for Mansell Raceway and the Kart Club for the use of leisure karts, race karts and the number of race and practice days.  As noise complaints tend to be generated from the use of the race karts this information will focus on the requirements of the agreement for the use of the race karts.  If further information is required on the use of the leisure karts, please contact Environmental Health on: environmentalhealth@eastdevon.gov.uk

Race days and practice days (using race karts) have been permitted for the following number of days with the following permitted sound levels:

A total number of 33 race and practice days per year.  This includes; 9 race days with 9 practice days and a further 15 practice days. These days are not to include the first two Saturdays of each month and never three consecutive Saturdays.

The use of electric karts falls outside of the scope of the 33 permitted race and practice days.

Within the 33 race and practice days the permitted hours are; between the hours of 09:00 and 18:00 and on Sundays between the hours 10:00 and 11:00 and between 12:00 and 18:00. 

The sound levels generated from the use of the Raceway (when measured at the agreed measuring point) shall not exceed 85dB(A) expressed as an LAeq 1 hour.

Race karts are subjected to sound tests conducted in accordance with the requirements set out for the said class of vehicle.   Any vehicle which fails the sound test set should be withdrawn from the circuit until any such time as it can meet the required sound level.

Mansell Raceway and the Kart Club have agreed to observe the requirements contained in the S.106 agreement. 

In order to monitor the sound levels from the 33 days the Raceway undertakes sound recordings.  Suitably calibrated sound recording equipment (the Council verifies the calibration certificates for the sound recording equipment) is used.  These sound recordings are kept for a period of at least one year and can be made available to the Council on request.  Currently the Raceway is providing the sound recordings to the Council on a monthly basis.  These recordings are reviewed by officers to ensure the requirements of the S.106 Agreement are being met.

If you feel that the noise levels from the Raceway are causing a nuisance Environmental Health can investigate this matter for you.  It should be noted that a statutory noise nuisance is more than a mere annoyance and it will have to be causing a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of anyone affected. Some people may find the noise from racing annoying, but it may not be considered a statutory nuisance.  Noise is a subjective matter and Council staff (Environmental Health Officers) are qualified and trained to assess whether a noise is likely to be a statutory nuisance.  Individual sensitivities cannot be taken into account and officers must assess how the nuisance would affect the average person.  In doing this a number of issues will be taken into consideration when judging whether a noise amounts to a statutory nuisance.  These include:

The time and the duration of the noise
The frequency and decibel levels of the noise
The location where the noise is heard
The inclusion of any malice

If for whatever reason, the Council cannot establish a Statutory Nuisance, you do not agree with the outcome, or if you do not wish to involve the Council, you can complain about a nuisance directly to the Magistrates Court under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  For more information on section 82 contact Environmental Health on: environmentalhealth@eastdevon.gov.uk

Planning Conditions

In addition to the controls through the S.106 Agreement, the site is also controlled through conditions imposed on various planning permissions (particularly 15/0280/VAR, 16/2946/FUL, 18/0419/VAR and 19/0198/FUL) granted over the years that include the following controls related to activity at the site:

No use before 9am or after 9pm on any day.
No amplifier, loudspeaker or public address system at any time.
The maximum noise level 10m from the track side measured in 1minute LAeq levels shall not exceed 65dB LAeq 8 hours (for the use of the Leisure Karts).
No more than 12 karts in use on the circuit at any time.
The workshop to be used for storage, maintenance and repair of karts used at the Raceway only;
No lighting of the external terrace;
External viewing areas only used between 8am and 9pm on any day;

If you believe that these conditions are being breached, please report this with as much evidence as you have here: Report a planning breach - East Devon